California wildfire kills four firefighters seriously injures one

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Friday, October 27, 2006

A wildfire in the Bitterroot National Forest in the State of Montana.
A wildfire in the Bitterroot National Forest in the State of Montana.

A wildfire has been reported near Palm Springs, California.

At least 4 United States Forest Service firefighters were killed and 1 seriously injured, with burns on nearly 95% of his body. The firefighters were overcome by fire while attempting to put out a blaze inside a home. The fire has burned nearly 10,000 acres and has destroyed 5 houses including 5 other buildings.

"We had a lot of fire activity overnight. Normally the fire dies down and the winds let up but that didn't happen last night. It burned like it was daytime," said California Department of Forestry spokesman, Bill Peters.

"[The] chances of survival are low when you have that bad of an injury," said Arrowhead Regional Medical Centre surgeon, Doctor Dev Gnanadev who also added that the firefighter has suffered "severe respiratory damage."

Witnesses have reported that 2 males were seen leaving the area of the fire at 1:00 a.m. on Thursday morning.

Authorities have determined that the blaze was due to arson and are offering a $500,000 [USD] reward for information leading to an arrest, but no information on how or why the fire was set has been released. Authorities say that murder could be among the arson charges who whoever is responsible.

"This is an arson fire. This is a deliberately set arson fire," said California Department of Forestry and Fire Prevention, John Hawkins.

Nearly 1,000 people have been evacuated from the area.