Transcript for Arizona Firefighter Tragedy Survivor Breaks Silence
Now tonight an abc news exclusive, the lone survivor of a tragedy we all followed together is speaking out for the first time. Those 19 young firefighters, the elite hot shot team were killed in june, trapped by the fast moving inferno in arizona. Abc's chief investigative reporter brian ross sat down with the only member of that team to get out alive. Reporter: As the wildfires spread across a rocky hillside in yarnell, arizona, there is was no immediate sense of impending danger. According to the first public account by the lone survivor, 21-YEAR-OLD brendan McDonald. Everything seemed normal, not threatening, just a typical day going direct on a fire. Reporter: All 20 members of a team called the gran it mountain hot shots specially trained to go into wildfires reshat fateful sunday morning in june. That's when the superintendent and our captain asked me to be "the lookout." Reporter: As lookout, he was stationed here, able to see both the fire and the other hot shots around a ridge. Around 3:45 in the afternoon the winds that had been driving the fire away from the hot shots shifted dramatically and drove the fire toward them at a quarter of a mile a minute with flames 50 feet high trapping the team in a canyon. In his last radio call with THEM, McDONALD SAYS HIS CAPTAIN Told him to get out. Do you torment yourself and think I should have done this or this? There's nothing I could have done besides been on the hill with them. To have been with them and died in my boots with them. Reporter: When the bodies of his 19 firefighters brothers were discovered, some were found still in their protective covers, others burned beyond recognition. I was still with our vehicles in one of the buggies. I can hear phones ringing, knowing that it was their wives, their family. I sunk, sunk into my seat. I sunk into myself. I couldn't think. Reporter: The official investigation is still under way. Seeking answers that might prevent another tragedy of the kind that happened here. Brian ross, abc news, yarnell, arizona.
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