Inferno deemed too intense for hotshot crew

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SAN DIEGO – Flags flew half-staff throughout San Diego County Monday in honor of the 19 fallen firefighters who lost their lives battling a wildfire in Arizona.  A CalFire captain explained what might have happened in their last moments.

The 19 firefighters were part of an elite and highly trained group called hotshot crews. They hike for miles into the wilderness with chain saws and heavy gear to build fire lines of protection between people and fires – sometimes for days at time.

Firefighters Killed In Arizona“These firefighters are some of the best,” said CalFire Captain Mike Mohler. “You got to be on your game to be part of this group.”

Hotshot Crews are a very close-knit group who eats and sleeps together and experience extreme firefights together.

An investigation into the deaths is underway, although the inferno may have been too much, even for the last-ditch survival fire-resistant shelters the firefighters carried.

A firefighter clears the ground of brush and steps in in the one-time use cover, lying directly on the ground.

“If you’re deploying your shelter something definitely went wrong,” Mohler said.

The crew supervisor is the one who decides whether or not to deploy the shield and wait out the firestorm. Those who have been through it say it’s not an agonizing decision.

“There have been firefighters who have lived thru being in a shelter deployment but they don’t work anymore because it’s so” says Mohler, as he is at a loss for words, “they’re done.”

6 comments

  • guest

    Society will never learn. Send in the expendable guys that are also trained to fight fires. THE CA STATE PRISON INMATES. Do i have to list names? No one will miss them….ASHES TO ASHES. DUST TO DUST. Stop wasting money and lives that matter. Cut the tax payers a break, send an inmate. If they die, no one will know anyway. There are deaths in prisons daily and no one reports it.

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