Jun 8, 2012 8:08 PM
SELLS, Ariz. - One firefighter was killed and two were injured in single-vehicle crash this morning while fighting the Montezuma Fire burning in the Baboquivari Mountain Range southwest of Tucson.
The three firefighters were en route to the fire in a brush fire truck on Federal Route 19, near mile post 22, when the vehicle rolled over, according to Matt Probst, a spokesperson for the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs, which is the agency overseeing the management of the fire. Two of the firefighters were taken to a nearby hospital for treatment, and the other died at the scene.
Following the incident, all firefighting personnel were recalled from the fire line, which is standard procedure following a fatality, Probst stated.
Drexel Heights Fire District firefighters lined up along Ajo Highway to salute their fallen comrade while being escorted into Tucson by Department of Public Safety, Department of Forestry, and Avra Valley Fire District personnel, according to DHFD spokesperson Tracy Koslowski.
Tohono O'odham Nation Chairman Ned Norris, Jr. said, "This is a tragic incident that reminds us that firefighters risk their lives every day to protect the public. The hearts of the Tohono O'odham go out to this individual, his family and friends and to all personnel fighting the Montezuma Fire."
The Montezuma Fire, now 90 percent contained, has burned a total of 1,700 acres since it started about 10 days ago on the west side of the Baboquivari Mountains, southwest of Tucson.
Pictured: Ajo Highway and Kinney Road as DPS, Dept of Forestry, Avra Valley FD escort the fallen firefighter into Tucson.