Local News

Jul 1, 2013 3:05 PM by Morgan Frances - MFrances@kristv.com

Firefighters Feel Sorrow For Loss In Arizona

CORPUS CHRISTI - The fire tearing through Prescott, Arizona took the lives of 19 firefighters Sunday. It's the largest firefighter loss of life since 9-11.

"Our entire crew was lost... we lost 19 people in this wildfire," said Prescott Fire Chief Dan Fraijo.

Although the men known as the "Granite Mountain Hot Shots" weren't local, the firefighting brotherhood hurts as a whole.

"It does affect us all," said Corpus Christ Fire Captain Mike Pinkerton. " We're all worldwide we have a brotherhood and it's hard to understand unless you're actually involved in it," he said. "We can go anywhere in the world and tell them that we're a firefighter and they take us in just like any other brother would."

The special team of Granite Mountain Hot Shots reportedly deployed special fire protective tents to withstand the inferno but died when the Yarnell Hill Fire overtook them; their training was no match for the unpredictable blaze.

"This is a dangerous occupation that you can't make safe," Emphasized Corpus Christi Fire Captain James Brown, "You can take precautions but you can't make it safe."

Captain Pinkerton says Corpus Christi Firefighters spend at least 20 hours a month honing their skills but nothing can make them invincible.

"Our job is inherently dangerous and a lot of people," Pinkerton said, "you don't see it until you see a big event on the news."

As forces, facing hot temperatures, dry conditions and high winds, continue to battle the fire in Arizona, their brothers elsewhere in the country pray for their safety and pray that the families mourning a loss can somehow find peace.

According to the Department of Homeland Security, last year the country lost 14 firefighters total to wildland fires. That's five less than those lost in this single tragedy.

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