19 Arizona Firefighters Killed

Arizona State Forestry Division/Reuters

Nineteen firefighters from a single elite crew were killed Sunday night battling a wildfire in Yarnell, Arizona, in the deadliest day for firefighters since September 11, 2001. One member of the 20-person Prescott-based crew, called the Granite Mountain Hotshots, survived because he was in a different location at the time. Authorities said they believe the firefighters died while trying deploy their fire shelter, which is made up of tents designed to trap breathable air and shield the firefighters. The fire, which investigators believe was started by lightning, has already burned through 700 acres and destroyed more than 200 buildings in the town. In a statement, President Obama called the firefighters “heroes,” while Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer called the deaths “an unimaginable loss” and said that Sunday was “as dark a day as I can remember.”