(NECN/NBC News: Chris Clackum) – Nineteen Arizona firefighters have been killed in one of the worst wildfire disasters in decades.
The members of an elite "hot-shot" wildfire crew died Sunday when a wall-of-flames overtook the group in Yarnell, Ariz.
"Our entire crew was lost. We lost 19 people in this wildfire. One of the worst wildfire disasters that's ever taken place," said Prescott Fire Chief Dan Fraijo.
Triggered by a lightning strike on Friday and fueled by record heat and gusty winds, the Yarnell fire quickly grew out-of-control over the weekend.
Fire officials say the men relied on their training to survive and even deployed special fire-tents to try to withstand the inferno.
"When you're deploying that's it, you know you just hope that 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," said one firefighter familiar with the tents
But they didn't, and the fire killed all 19.
In a statement made during his on-going trip to Africa President Obama praised the elite firefighters, calling them quote: "heroes."
Read More: http://nbcnews.to/14IEDUM