Arizona contests citations in firefighter deaths

AP News
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Posted: Dec 19, 2013 1:14 PM

PHOENIX (AP) — Arizona's Forestry Division is contesting citations and fines the state workplace safety agency issued for the June deaths of 19 firefighters.

The appeal filed Thursday with the Arizona Division of Occupational Safety and Health asks for an informal conference to contest the citations and nearly $560,000 fine.

The state's Industrial Commission levied the fine on Dec. 4 after agreeing with workplace safety investigators that the Forestry Division mismanaged the fire and firefighting crews assigned to the Yarnell Hill Fire in June. The commission found the division knowingly put protection of property ahead of safety and should have pulled crews out earlier.

The blaze killed 19 members of Prescott's Granite Mountain Hotshots on June 30 after a change in wind direction pushed the flames back toward their position.