Ariz. fire chief: Shelters are 'last-ditch effort'

Associated Press
Joanne Barringer, right, comforts her husband Dave Barringer, of Las Vegas, after hanging a T-shirt on the fence outside the Granite Mountain Interagency Hot Shot Crew fire station, Monday, July 1, 2013 in Prescott, Ariz. Barringer, who said he works as a wild land firefighter for the U.S. Forest Service said he was friends with many of the 19 Hotshots who were killed Sunday when an out-of-control blaze overtook the elite group near Yarnell, Ariz. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

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PRESCOTT, Ariz. (AP) — A fire chief says lightning sparked a number of wildfires near Prescott, Ariz., the day a nearby blaze killed 19 members of an elite "Hotshots" fire crew.

Prescott Fire Chief Dan Fraijo says he was assigned to another fire when he received a call Sunday afternoon from someone assigned to the deadly fire.

He says he learned 19 members of the Granite Mountain Hotshots had deployed their portable emergency shelters while battling the blaze near the small town of Yarnell.

Fraijo describes the shelters as a "last-ditch effort to save yourself."

One man on the 20-member Hotshot crew survived, and that was because he was moving the unit's truck at the time. Fraijo says the survivor "feels terribly, and we all feel terribly."

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