Investigation opens into why Yarnell Hill Fire killed 19 - KAIT-Jonesboro, AR-News, weather, sports

Investigation opens into why Yarnell Hill Fire killed 19

Posted: Updated:
This photo was the last photo Andrew Ashcraft texted to his wife before he and 18 other Hotshots were overcome by the Yarnell Hill Fire. (Source: Facebook) This photo was the last photo Andrew Ashcraft texted to his wife before he and 18 other Hotshots were overcome by the Yarnell Hill Fire. (Source: Facebook)
  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Murder victim's mom speaks out on delays in case

    Murder victim's mom speaks out on delays in case

    Monday, July 28 2014 11:58 PM EDT2014-07-29 03:58:59 GMT
    Jessica Williams' mother, Sherry, told Region 8 News that she is at her wits end over what she calls a lack of progress in her daughter's case.
    Jessica Williams' mother, Sherry, told Region 8 News that she is at her wits end over what she calls a lack of progress in her daughter's case.
  • Slain family of 5 was murder-suicide, police say

    Slain family of 5 was murder-suicide, police say

    Monday, July 28 2014 6:59 PM EDT2014-07-28 22:59:54 GMT
    Neighbors struggled to make sense of the shooting deaths of a family of five in which the father was known to many throughout their apartment complex as a friendly maintenance worker.
    A maintenance worker with financial problems killed his wife and three children with a shotgun, then committed suicide, over the weekend in what state police called one of the worst cases of domestic violence in Maine...
  • Mom accused of leaving babies home alone

    Mom accused of leaving babies home alone

    Monday, July 28 2014 3:37 PM EDT2014-07-28 19:37:58 GMT
    Sharonda LopezSharonda Lopez
    A Jonesboro woman was arrested Saturday, July 26, after police say she left her two babies home alone. Sharonda Lopez, 25, is charged with two counts of first degree child endangerment.
    A Jonesboro woman was arrested Saturday, July 26, after police say she left her two babies home alone. Sharonda Lopez, 25, is charged with two counts of first degree child endangerment.
PRESCOTT, AZ (CBS5/AP) -

Investigators are in Yarnell to figure out why 19 elite firefighters perished in the Yarnell Hill Fire and whether human error played a role in the tragedy.

The investigation will look at whether the Hotshot crew paid attention to the forecast, created an escape route and took other precautions developed after a similar disaster in Colorado nearly two decades ago.

The bodies of the 19 firefighters from the Granite Mountain Hotshots crew were brought off the mountainside where they were overtaken by the fire, and brought to the Maricopa County Medical Examiner's Office, where the causes of death will be officially determined.

The team of about 10 investigators from various agencies also will look at whether the crew should have been pulled out before the fire exploded on Sunday.

The independent investigation will be led by Florida State Forester Jim Karels. Mike Dudley, acting director of Cooperative Forestry for the USDA Forest Service, will be the secondary team lead.

Others participating in the investigation include the U.S. Forest Service Missoula Technology and Development Center, the Missoula Fire Department, the Bureau of Land Management and Arizona Division of Occupational Safety and Health. Team members are technical specialist and fire behavior analysts.

The local liaisons to the nine-member Yarnell Hill Investigation Team are Arizona State Forester Scott Hunt and Prescott Fire Chief Dan Fraijo.

"These investigators, with 30-plus years of experience, are scientists," Jim Paxon toild CBS 5 News. Paxson is a founding member of the Arizona Wildfire Academy and served on the Southwest Interagency Incident Management Team during the Rodeo-Chediski Fire in 2002.

"They will try to discern what happened and how can we prevent it in the future," he said. "They will try to reconstruct the fire as it blew up and ran over the Granite Mountain crew."

Paxson said they will use a number of tools and to determine just why it was so intense and extreme that the firefighters' fireproof tents didn't protect them.

About 500 firefighters are fighting powerful winds as they continue to battle the fire, which has burned about 13 square miles.

Yavapai County authorities said about 50 homes and other structures burned in Yarnell, and hundreds of people have been evacuated.

Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

  • Investigation opens into why Yarnell Hill Fire killed 19More>>

  • Sidebar: Yarnell Hill Fire

    Wildfires

    Thursday, December 19 2013 8:02 PM EST2013-12-20 01:02:20 GMT
    SPECIAL SECTION SLIDESHOWS VIDEOS RESOURCES
    SPECIAL SECTION SLIDESHOWS VIDEOS RESOURCES
Powered by WorldNow

472 Craighead Co. 766
Jonesboro, AR 72401
(870) 931-8888

FCC Public File
publicfile@kait8.com
(870) 336-1816
EEO Report
Closed Captioning

All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Worldnow and KAIT. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.