The wildfire fire began about 85 miles northwest of Phoenix on Friday with a lightning strike, because of dry grass and gusting winds, it quickly spiraled out of control forcing families out of their homes with little notice.
An elite team of firefighters went in to set up a barrier to stop the fire from marching toward homes and people.
But they were caught in the middle of the inferno.
Dan Fraijo, Fire Chief, Prescott, AZ, "Our entire crew was lost. We lost 19 people in this wildfire. One of the worst wildfire disasters that's ever taken place."
Heavy winds pushed the flames on top of the firefighters who had to deploy emergency tent-like structures typically used as a last resort to shield them from the intense heat.
Dan Fraijo, Fire Chief, Prescott, AZ, "When you're deploying that's it, you know you just hope your training and the deployment of the shelter kind of does what it's supposed to do and you're able to walk away from it."
They did not. 19 members of the elite "Hot Shot" crew gone.
Two thousand acres are now scorched at least 200 homes destroyed.
And while a nation mourns the loss of those brave firefighters the flames continue to burn.
In a statement, President Obama called the firefighters "heroes"and said the federal government is assisting state and local officials in Arizona.
Tuesday, September 2 2014 1:32 PM EDT2014-09-02 17:32:33 GMT
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