PHOENIX — An Arizona Department of Public Safety helicopter paramedic was
calm and straightforward as he radioed in the first confirmation that 19
firefighters were dead in a fire northwest of Phoenix.
Recordings released Thursday show paramedic Eric Tarr calling in to DPS
dispatchers. His pilot had dropped him off near where they had spotted the
Granite Mountain Hotshots in and around their deployed fire shelters near
Yarnell on June 30.
After hiking about 500 yards to the site, Tarr radioed his dispatcher and asked
her to tell his pilot “I have 19 confirmed fatalities.”
The incident was the worst loss of firefighters in a U.S. wildfire since 1933.
The Yarnell Hill Fire was declared contained late Wednesday after burning about
13 square miles and destroying more than 100 homes.