Thursday, October 26, 2006
Officials say four firefighters were killed and one was critically injured while battling a fierce wind-driven arson blaze near Palm Springs. The Esperanza fire has blackened 10,000 acres and driven hundreds of people from their homes. Hundreds more are stranded in an RV park.
A U.S. Forest Service spokesman says the firefighters who died were attempting to protect a home when dry Santa Ana winds blew a wall of flames down onto them. Three died at the scene. One died later at a hospital. The fifth has burns over 95 percent of his body. The Riverside County fire chief says the blaze was deliberately set early this morning.