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6 inmate firefighters suffer burn injuries in forest near LA

June 7, 2022 GMT

CASTAIC, Calif. (AP) — Six inmate firefighters suffered burn injuries Tuesday when fire broke out inside a vehicle on a Southern California forest road, authorities said.

Emergency crews responded shortly after 11 a.m. following reports of burned patients on Templin Highway in Angeles National Forest near Castaic, said Esteban Benitez, a spokesperson for the Los Angeles County Fire Department.

Four people were transported to hospitals in helicopters and two were taken by ambulances, Benitez said.

All six were inmate firefighters from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, county fire officials said. They were all in stable condition after being treated for “mild to moderate” burns, the county fire department said on Twitter.

“A flash fire occurred in the back of an inmate camp crew vehicle,” the department tweeted. “Incident is under investigation.”

Additional details about the fire were not immediately available.

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Initial reports were that a county fire crew was taking part in a training exercise in the area, according to Officer Josh Greengard with the California Highway Patrol.

An ABC7 helicopter showed firefighters, fire vehicles and helicopters on the highway, along with a group of about about a dozen people in orange outfits seated on the roadside.

Old Golden State Highway, just west of Interstate 5, was shut down to land rescue helicopters in the area about 45 miles (72 km) northwest of downtown Los Angeles.