6/30/2013 10:23:00 PM Prescott Fire Chief Dan Fraijo confirms 19 dead in Yarnell blaze
Prescott Fire Chief Dan Fraijo talks to media members during a briefing Sunday night about the deaths of 19 firefighters at the Yarnell Fire. TribPhoto
Heidi Dahms-Foster Special to the Tribune
Prescott Fire Chief Dan Fraijo confirmed Sunday night that 19 Prescott firefighters died Sunday fighting the Yarnell Hill fire that has consumed more than 1,300 acres and burned its way into the community of Yarnell.
Fraijo, speaking at a media briefing at the Prescott Police Department, said the tragedy was one of the worst, if not the worst, in Arizona firefighting history.
"We just lost 19 of the finest people you'll ever meet," Fraijo said, choking back emotion.
He said he did not know the full circumstances behind the deaths, and did not want to talk about them until all the details emerge.
Fraijo said fire personnel were working to notify family members of those who died, and said he thought every family had been contacted as of Sunday night's briefing. The names of those who died have not been released, nor has the department yet released the name of the lone survivor on the 20-member, all male crew. That crew member, Fraijo said, was at the fire but was not in the location where the others died.
More information will be available at a 10 a.m. briefing on Monday morning," Fraijo said.
Central Yavapai Fire Battalion Chief Brad Davis said the department has seven personnel - a division supervisor and two task force leaders, and four firefighters on a Type 6 engine - at the fire.
"We've made cell phone contact with them and they are all OK and safe," he said.