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Few Details on Soldiers Hospitalized with Severe Burns in Tent Fire

Published On: Mar 14 2014 12:24:54 PM AKDT
Army Numbers to Shrink, but Not at Fort Wainwright

Few details were available Friday on two Fort Wainwright soldiers severely burned in a tent fire during routine training early Thursday morning.

U.S. Army spokesperson John Pannell said the incident involved soldiers from the 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division. The soldiers were camping outdoors during a “normal training mission” near Eielson Air Force Base at the Yukon Training Area, Pennell said.

Pennell called the exercises “typical field training” that are “part of the arctic skill set” for soldiers. He did not have specifics on their training, or if any special equipment had been in use, but said training typically ranges from “overnight or a week or so at a time” in the field where soldiers “live in tent and do other mission training” like patrols, providing guard duty, and other “basic winter training.”

“A tent housing three soldiers caught fire around 4 a.m. and two soldiers were seriously injured in the fire,” Pennell wrote in a Thursday release.

The men suffered partial-thickness (commonly called second-degree) burns, as well as airway burns from smoke inhalation, Pennell said. The third soldier in the tent rescued the injured men.

They received initial treatment from unit medics before the injured soldiers “were evacuated by ambulance to Fairbanks Memorial Hospital for treatment” and eventually were “transferred to the Harborview Medical Center in Seattle for additional treatment.”

Pennel said as of Friday they were in stable condition at the hospital’s burn ward.

Pennell says the injured soldiers’ families have been notified. The incident remains under investigation.

No additional information was available on the fire investigation due to a scheduled training holiday, Pennell said. Updates, including names of the injured soldiers, should be available by next week.

KTUU's Chris Klint contributed to this story.