19 Arizona Firefighters Killed

    Firefighters move away from the Yarnell Hill Fire, near the town of Yarnell, Arizona, about 80 miles (128 km) northwest of Phoenix in this June 30, 2013 handout photo. Nineteen firefighters were killed battling a fast-moving wildfire menacing a small town in central Arizona, the U.S. Wildland Fire Aviation service said on Sunday. REUTERS/Arizona State Forestry Division/Handout  (UNITED STATES - Tags: DISASTER ENVIRONMENT) THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS

    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.”

    Worst day for firefighters since 9/11.

    Watch a timelapse of the fire.

    Read it at NBC News