Arizona commission OKs fine in firefighter deaths

PHOENIX - An Arizona commission has approved a nearly $560,000 fine against the state Forestry Division in the deaths of 19 firefighters.

The state Industrial Commission voted Wednesday in favor of the recommended fine at its meeting in Phoenix.

The Arizona Division of Occupational Safety and Health had proposed a trio of citations with financial penalties after investigating workplace violations.

The safety agency says forestry officials managing the Yarnell Hill Fire northwest of Phoenix had placed the protection of structures and pastureland above firefighter safety.

The agency also says that fire management officials should have pulled out crews earlier and failed to have key personnel in place at critical times.

The Arizona State Forestry Division oversaw the blaze that trapped the Granite Mountain Hotshots. All but one of the crew members died on June 30.

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