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What went wrong? U.S. Forest Service to open investigation into death of 3 firefighters

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CHELAN, Wash. -- How did U.S. Forest Service firefighters become trapped and overcome by flames from the wildfire near Twisp?

Three were killed and four other firefighters were injured in the same incident Wednesday.

The Forest Service has called in a national Incident Management Team to investigate the deaths of the firefighters.

U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell told reporters Thursday that a team of Forest Service experts, working with the Washington Department of Natural Resources, would review what went wrong and what circumstances led to the firefighters' deaths.

Late Wednesday night, the Forest Service put out a news release that said, “The firefighters were engaged in initial attack operations and were involved in a vehicle accident when it is believed that the fire overtook the vehicle."

But no details have been disclosed about how the vehicle accident occurred, what position the men were in or how three of them were unable to escape the flames.

Tidwell said he did not know how long the investigation would take, but added that any new details of what led to the tragedy will be released publicly only after the relatives of the fallen firefighters are told first.





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