Thursday, October 26, 2006

3 firefighters killed in Calif. blaze

A wildfire driven by hot Santa Ana winds killed three firefighters trapped in their engine, critically injured two others and droves hundreds of people from homes Thursday as it swept through the desert hills northwest of Palm Springs, the U.S. Forest Service said. The firefighters were trying to protect a house from then 4,000-acre wildfire when the flames engulfed the engine, said Pat Boss, a U.S. Forest Service spokesman. "The engine was in the area, and with the wind conditions like they were, the fire just overtakes and burns the entire engine," Boss said. He said the Forest Service pulled all its personnel off the fire after the deaths so they could "gather their thoughts, say their prayers." The fire quickly blackened more than six square miles and destroyed at least three homes. The weather service had issued a "red flag" warning for extreme fire danger in the region due to high winds _ 25 mph or more _ and dry conditions. The cause of the wildfire wasn't immediately clear....

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