When firefighters suit up to take on wildfires around the nation, there is one item they don't leave behind: It's called a fire shelter. Although it's rarely used, these safety devices are made to save lives.
"We have them as a last resort," Apache Junction Firefighter Eric Ellsworth said.
A fire shelter is designed to be a lightweight shield against radiant heat but they can only be used once. In Yarnell, the 19 firefighters who lost their lives were all found with their fire shelters deployed but the precautionary device did not save their lives.
"A lot of questions right now," Ellsworth said. "We know these are highly trained individuals, it's just a tragedy for all of us."
Firefighters train with these fire shelters every year but in a real scenario, they usually have less than 15 seconds to get under the shelter's protective aluminum shield. According to Anchor Manufacturing, one of the companies that produce these fire shelters, the shelters can withstand temperatures of up to 500 degrees before the material begins breaking down. However, the aluminum shells were not made to withstand direct flames for much longer than a few seconds to a few minutes.
"By no means is it comfortable [inside a fire shelter]," Ellsworth said.
About 10,000 fire shelters are produced by two major companies every year and the designs are highly regulated by the United States Forest Service, which will play a major role in the investigation as to what went wrong in Yarnell.
Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.
Tuesday, September 2 2014 5:28 PM EDT2014-09-02 21:28:36 GMT
The search is over for the missing Mississippi 17-year-old at the center of the weekend Amber Alert. Katelyn Beard's body was found Tuesday before noon, off of Darden road, near the scene of a morningMore >>
The coroner said her body had been dumped for at least two days, and she was shot in the head.More >>
Tuesday, September 2 2014 2:22 PM EDT2014-09-02 18:22:45 GMT
The Mississippi Highway Patrol has issued an Amber Alert for 17-year-old Katelyn Beard. She was abducted Saturday morning from between 6:00 a.m. and 7:00 a.m. from 4244 Lynda Street in Jackson. BeardMore >>
Katelyn Beard's body was found during a search by local law enforcement Tuesday morning. More >>
Thursday, August 28 2014 9:33 AM EDT2014-08-28 13:33:06 GMT
SPARTANBURG COUNT, SC (WYFF) - Fifteen children living in a double-wide trailer were put into protective custody and seven adults were arrested, according to the Spartanburg County Sheriff's Office. DeputiesMore >>
Fifteen children living in a double-wide trailer were put into protective custody and seven adults were arrested, according to the Spartanburg County Sheriff's Office.More >>
Tuesday, September 2 2014 5:21 PM EDT2014-09-02 21:21:05 GMT
Tracy Lynn Garner is being sentenced, Tuesday, in connection to illicit silicone buttocks injections that led to an Atlanta woman's death. Garner was convicted Friday evening after the jury deliberatedMore >>
Garner was convicted Friday evening after the jury deliberated for about five hours.More >>
Tuesday, September 2 2014 10:07 AM EDT2014-09-02 14:07:52 GMT
Labor Day weekend has a special significance for alligator hunters in Mississippi. A few days into the start of this year's hunting season, a record-setting 756-pound gator was caught by Robert MahaffeyMore >>
Labor Day weekend has a special significance for alligator hunters in Mississippi. A few days into the start of this year's hunting season, a record-setting 756-pound gator was caught by Robert Mahaffey of Brandon in the first weekend of the season.More >>
Tuesday, September 2 2014 7:39 PM EDT2014-09-02 23:39:10 GMT
(WMC) – Memphis police are the scene of a shooting where a woman was possibly shot in the head. This happened in the 900 block of East Raines Road, near Elvis Presley Boulevard on Tuesday morning. ThisMore >>
A Memphis mother of two was shot and killed by her estranged husband outside a Whitehaven day care center Tuesday morning. More >>
WLBT 3 - Fox 40
715 South Jefferson Street
Jackson, Mississippi 39201