Sunday, June 30, 2013

19 Gone

Sunday was a horrible day for first responders as 19 firefighters are now reported dead; all of them succumbed while fighting a monstrous wildfire in Arizona.

The deceased were members of the Prescott Fire Department, a city of 39,843 (about the same size as Amherst.)  The entire crew of 19 were part of an elite unit known as the  "Granite Mountain Hotshots."

Only one survived because he was in a different location when the conflagration overran their position.  As a last desperate measure the firefighters attempted to dig in and deploy emergency fire shelters, but to no avail.

Last resort Emergency Fire Shelter

This is the greatest loss of life for firefighters in a single incident since 9/11, when 343 perished at the World Trade Center.


 Granite Mountain Hotshots.  Entire crew lost.


Anonymous said...

I will never forget being on the roof of a burning building, neither knowing how much water I had left nor how fast I was using it (and I was using as little as I dared) and hearing the old-fashioned motor sirens starting to wind up and shattering the damp pre-dawn air -- and realizing that people were being woken up for me (that entire *towns* were being woken up for me)-- that people were coming to back me up and that I actually would live if I could only hold on until they arrived.

I will never forget the staccato flashes from behind me, brighter than the fire itself. The forest fire guys got there first and ran their first line to feed my truck from theirs, and then hit me with their second. They later apologized for not being able to do a fog pattern -- they'd done the best they could with the nozzle they had, but I didn't mind. I didn't mind at all.

I mention that to explain this: as tragic as this was, they died as a team. They didn't die alone.

Whatever happened -- and we don't yet know -- at least (hopefully) they were together. And that makes a difference -- at least to me.

Anonymous said...

The group picture:

Anonymous said...

May they rest in peace. How noble -- to give your life for others.

Anonymous said...

How noble -- to give your life for others.

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13