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Soldiers Die In Training Tent Fire

Oklahoman Published: February 25, 1994

FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) - Two soldiers, one from Oklahoma, died early Thursday when their tent caught fire while they were on a winter training exercise in the wilderness, Army officials said.

The soldiers were identified as Pfc. Daniel Budzinsky, 23, Weatherford, OK, and Spc. Timothy J. Gilchrist, 21, Gray, Maine.

The fire occurred at 3 a.m. in the Army's Yukon Command Training Center, about 50 miles east of Fairbanks, officials at Fort Wainwright said in a statement.

Budzinsky and Gilchrist were members of the 9th Infantry Division, 4th Battalion Headquarters Company, based at Fort Wainwright outside Fairbanks. They were among 20 soldiers taking part in a platoon training exercise.

The tent fire was discovered by another soldier, the Army said.

The men were flown by Army helicopters to Fairbanks - one to Fairbanks Memorial Hospital and the other to Bassett Army Community Hospital at Fort Wainwright.

Army officials say the cause of the fire is under investigation.

Soldiers usually use heating units inside their tents while winter camping in Alaska, but an Army spokesman said he doesn't know if a heater was the cause of the fatal fire. BIOG: NAME:

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