The lone survivor from the elite brigade of firefighters who lost 19 members at the Arizona wildfire has been identified.
Brendan McDonough was the lookout who attempted to warn his colleagues to get out of the spot that they were in and was almost killed himself when the aggressive fire took a turn for the worse.
McDonough is a member of the Granite Mountain Hotshot Crew, according to the Prescott Fire Department, the highly trained group who lost 19 of its members on Sunday.
Prescott Fire Department spokesman Wade Ward told ABC News that it is “very common” for crews to have a lookout at a higher location so that they can be in both radio and visual contact.
He said that McDonough was on a hillside within a mile or two of the crew monitoring the situation.
During a fire, firefighters have pre-determined “trigger points” that indicate to them that it is time to re-evaluate the situation if the fire reaches those points.
When the conditions worsened, the survivor tried to warn his colleagues to get out as his own trigger point was destroyed by the fire.
The Hotshots, as the elite team is known, was battling a raging wildfire in Yarnell, Arizona, when winds shifted unexpectedly creating the perfect storm that trapped and killed them, according to officials.
Wade said that McDonough is “very distraught” and still trying to comprehend what went wrong.
“He’s lost 19 of his best friends and co-workers and he’s working through it the best that he can,” Wade said. “He’s being cared for not only by the Prescott Fire Department but the huge community around him and we’re doing the best that we can to help him.”
“It’s not a good situation to not only be there, but to know that all of your buddies are gone,” Wade said.
The lone survivor of the Arizona wildfire, Brendan McDonough is 21-years-old.
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