Report on deaths of 19 firefighters can’t answer some questions

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(CNN) — Though an in-depth report released Saturday assigned no blame in the death of 19 elite Arizona firefighters, it did raise some key issues about the day the men died.

The firefighters, known as the Granite Mountain Hotshots, died on June 30 fighting wildfires in Arizona. The fire was started by a lightning strike, rapidly spread from one-half acre to several hundred and destroyed more than 100 structures. It took the lives of the 19 hotshots before it was contained.

The interagency report, commissioned by the state, detailed what went wrong in the Yarnell Hill Fire and made recommendations to improve the future safety and efficiency of fire crews, both in Arizona and nationwide.

The report found the crew was fully qualified, staffed and trained.

But it said fire personnel dealt with radio communications issues throughout that day.

The report also detailed that during a critical part of the day, there was a 30-minute communication gap between the hotshot team and the command center. The communications issues throughout the day resulted in confusion about the hotshot crew’s intentions, movements and location, officials said.

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