Hotshot crew killed in Yarnell wildfire honored - NBC12.com - Richmond, VA News

Hotshot crew killed in Yarnell wildfire honored

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PHOENIX (CBS5) -

Eighteen members of the Granite Mountain Hotshot crew killed while battling the Yarnell Hill Fire in Yavapai County are being remembered in Arizona and the nation.

One other firefighter was killed, but it's not known where that person was based. One other firefighter survived.

The fast-moving wildfire had burned 50 structures and grown to more than 8,000 acres by early Monday morning, command center officials said.

Judge David Mackey, presiding judge for Superior Court in Yavapai County: 

"On behalf of the entire court community in Yavapai County, our deepest condolences go out to the families and loved ones of those who have lost their life in the Yarnell Wildfire. The Yarnell Justice Court has accounted for its entire staff, many of whom are residents of the community, and we are grateful that they are safe. The condition of the Yarnell Justice Court is unknown at this time. Information about cases pending in this court will be forthcoming. I have spoken with county leaders and the court system stands by to support our neighbors in need. As a long-time Prescott resident, I am devastated by this tragedy and ask that you keep our community in your thoughts and prayers."  

Grand Canyon National Park statement: 

"Grand Canyon National Park and the entire National Park Service join the nation in mourning the tragic loss of 19 firefighters, including 18 elite firefighters from the Granite Mountain Hotshot Crew based in Prescott, AZ. Our thoughts and heartfelt sympathies are with the families and loved ones of the firefighters who lost their lives battling the Yarnell Hill Fire.

"A small tightknit group, the wildland firefighting community has suffered a devastating loss. Every fire season thousands of men and women place their own lives in danger to protect human life and defend private and public property. The entire National Park Service family sends their deepest condolences to the towns of Yarnell and Prescott, the wildland fire community, and to the families of those who sacrificed their lives."

Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell:

"I am deeply saddened by the tragic loss of 19 members of the Granite Mountain Interagency Hotshot crew yesterday near Yarnell, Arizona. I join all Interior Department employees in honoring their courage and sacrifice and standing with their families in their time of grief. The word "hero" can be overused, but in this case the word fails to do justice to these firefighters who stood in the path of a roaring inferno to protect their communities.

"In May, I visited the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho with Secretary Tom Vilsack and saw the professionalism and dedication of the members of the firefighting community as they prepared for this severe fire season. Just this last weekend, I met with a Hotshot crew in Utah and witnessed first-hand their commitment to our nation and emphasis on firefighter safety. We can never be vigilant enough when it comes to safety, and we will continue to seek new ways of keeping our firefighters safe.

"Today, 58 Interior Department employees are on the ground fighting the Yarnell fire, and we stand ready to provide whatever further assistance the state of Arizona and local communities need to extinguish the blaze and protect lives and property.

"As we as a nation and as a department mourn this terrible loss, I am reminded of the passage, 'Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends.' On this sad day, may all of us honor these 19 firefighters for their 'greater love.'"

U.S. Rep. Ron Barber, D-AZ:

"My thoughts and my prayers go out to the families of the 19 brave Arizona firefighters who died in the line of duty yesterday - battling to save the homes of people they may have never met, but who were part of a community they selflessly served each day. 

"Few of us can fathom the courage that these firefighters exhibited as they ran into areas as others fled."    

U.S. Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, D-AZ: 

"My thoughts are with the families of the nineteen firefighters who died while battling the Yarnell Hill Fire last night. These brave heroes fell in the line of duty as they fought to keep our communities safe. Arizona owes them and their families a debt of gratitude. My continued thoughts go to all of those affected by the devastation in Yavapai County. As we learn more about the devastation in Yarnell, I will work with my colleagues to provide federal assistance as we fight this fire and rebuild the community."

Bryan Jeffries, vice-president, The Professional Fire Fighters of Arizona:

"The fire fighting community in the State of Arizona is a close, united family.

"The 19 fire fighters who made the ultimate sacrifice last night in the line of duty in Yarnell are more than colleagues to us. They're brothers to each of the 6,500 men and women who belong to the Professional Fire Fighters of Arizona.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with their families, their loved ones and with the Prescott Fire Department and the community.

"The young fire fighters from the Granite Mountain Hotshots and their fellow wildland fire fighters serve every day with the utmost courage and with the strongest possible commitment to their community and to the fire service.

"These 19 gave their lives as heroes. They will never, ever be forgotten.

"Our hearts also are with area residents who lost their homes and their possessions.

"Last night, the PFFA established a Prescott Command with our President, Tim Hill, and Ray Maione, our member services director, on the ground to coordinate delivering services to the Yarnell area. These services include grief counseling for families of the fallen, financial support and benefits, memorial services and additional manpower for the Prescott Fire Department. These efforts are ongoing.

"We want to thank the public from across Arizona and the nation for their outpouring of support and for their offers of help.

"Anyone who wants to contribute financially to help the families of the fallen can do so by making a donation today to the 100 Club or the Wildland Firefighter Foundation."

Coconino County Board of Supervisors:

"The Coconino County Board of Supervisors was deeply saddened to learn of the passing of 19 of Northern Arizona's bravest firefighting heroes. This dedicated Granite Mountain Hot Shot crew exemplified the best our communities have to offer. By laying down their lives to protect our Yavapai County neighbors impacted by the Yarnell Hill Fire near Prescott, they remind us of the dedication and passion our first responders have to serving our communities.

"Our deepest sympathies and thoughts are with the families of those who died battling this blaze and the dozens of families that have lost their homes."

Rep. Matt Salmon, R-AZ:

"Last night, Arizona lost 19 heroes in the Yarnell blaze outside Prescott, Arizona. These brave firefighters fought on the front lines to protect our neighbors and families and their bravery and service to Arizona will be remembered forever. Tragedies like these remind us that our first responders so often sacrifice their own lives to protect their community. My heart goes out to the families and I ask you to join me and Nancy in praying for their comfort and healing."

U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-AZ:

"This evening, the families and loved ones of the brave firefighters who lost their lives battling the Yarnell Hill Fire in Central Arizona - as well as those still fighting the fire - are in the thoughts and prayers of all Americans. This devastating loss is a reminder of the grave risks our firefighters take every day on our behalf in Arizona and in communities across this nation. Their sacrifice will never be forgotten."

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer:

"This is as dark a day as I can remember, with Arizona suffering the truly unimaginable loss of 19 wildland firefighters. They were battling the Yarnell Fire, near Prescott, when the fast-moving blaze overtook their position.

"It may be days or longer before an investigation reveals how this tragedy occurred, but the essence we already know in our hearts: fighting fires is dangerous work. The risk is well-known to the brave men and women who don their gear and do battle against forest and flame.

"When a tragedy like this strikes, all we can do is offer our eternal gratitude to the fallen, and prayers for the families and friends left behind. God bless them all."

Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano issued this statement:

"Today, our thoughts and prayers go out to the families and loved ones of the nineteen firefighters who lost their lives in the line of duty combating the wildfire outside Yarnell, Arizona. As thousands of their colleagues continue to fight wildfires across Arizona and the West, the Department of Homeland Security and FEMA are working closely with our federal partners including the Forest Service and the Department of Interior, to support state and local efforts. Our utmost priority is public safety and I urge residents in the impacted areas to continue to listen to local authorities and follow their guidance and instructions."

Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton:

"Nicole and I join the people of Phoenix and the entire nation to express our deepest condolences to the families of the brave firefighters who lost their lives battling the Yarnell Hill fire. This terrible tragedy is one of the worst in the history of firefighting and a solemn reminder of the extraordinary danger our first responders face every day. I have spoken to the City Manager, and Phoenix stands prepared to help in any way. We can also confirm that none of the eight Phoenix firefighters assisting in battling the blaze were hurt in this tragedy."

U.S. Rep. Ron Barber, D-AZ, said:

"My thoughts and my prayers go out to the families of the 19 brave Arizona firefighters who died in the line of duty yesterday - battling to save the homes of people they may have never met, but who were part of a community they selflessly served each day.

"This tragedy touches every Arizonan and every American. My son-in-law Jason is an Arizona firefighter and today my family takes special pause recognizing the lost lives of his colleagues and the immense grief and loss felt by their families and communities. We also pray for the safety of those who continue to battle the flames."

U.S. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, D-AZ, issued this statement:

"It's difficult to put into words the pain shared by all Arizonans this morning. As the news of this tragedy unfolded last night, we at first felt shock and disbelief. And then a heartwrenching reality began to set in. These 19 courageous firefighters will long be remembered as heroes, but today they are deeply mourned as family members, dear friends, neighbors and colleagues. My heart goes out to their families, and we will spare no effort to assist them and the good folks of Yarnell, Prescott and other affected communities. We will not forget the sacrifice of these 19 firefighters. They went to work every day - to a job that was dangerous and thankless. They will never return, and our Arizona family will never be the same. May their brave souls rest in peace."

Former Arizona Congresswoman Gabby Giffords tweeted:

"Hearing that 19 firefighters were killed in Arizona today fighting the #yarnellfire. Absolutely devastating news."

U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake, R-AZ, issued this statement:

"I am sick at the news of the deaths of 19 firefighters battling the Yarnell Hill fire. It is an unspeakable tragedy for a town like Prescott and the surrounding communities to lose so many. My heart goes out to the firefighters' families. We are in touch with the White House and federal agencies to ensure that all necessary federal resources are being brought to bear on the situation."

U.S. Rep. Dave Schweikert, R-AZ, said:

"Words cannot express how heartbroken Joyce and I are at the devastation and loss of life in the Yarnell Hill Fire. Arizona lost some of its best and bravest last night and we owe them our gratitude. Please join me in praying for Yavapai County and the families of all the firefighters lost."

U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar, R-AZ, said in a statement:

"My heart weeps for those who lost their lives and were affected by today's Yarnell Hill Fire. My thoughts and prayers go out to the families who have lost so much and the first responders battling this difficult situation. I urge others to join me in keeping those affected by this tragic fire in our thoughts and prayers. My office and I will continue to closely monitor the situation and remain in communication with emergency responders. Please do not hesitate to contact my office if we can be of assistance."

U.S. Rep. Ed Pastor, D-AZ, issued this statement:

"I'd like to extend my deepest prayers and condolences to the families, friends and colleagues of the 19 brave firefighters who lost their lives while protecting the homes and lives of their fellow Arizonans. This shocking tragedy has united all Arizonans and together, as a community, may we all rally and stand by the grieving families so that they may draw strength and comfort during this difficult time."

U.S. Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-AZ, said:

"Firefighters dedicate their careers to keeping the rest of us safe, and their bravery in the cause of protecting the public is sometimes taken for granted. It takes more courage and professionalism than we imagine to face a wall of fire with nothing but a small shelter for protection. These nineteen men died protecting other families' homes, doing what they believed in. Our gratitude for their efforts and our sorrow at their loss cannot easily be measured in words.

"People call them first responders, but firefighters are often the only responders. They are men and women just like us who choose to dedicate their lives to protecting others. The nineteen men killed yesterday will be remembered not just for the lives and homes they saved, but for their willingness to brave that risk knowing the dangers, just as all firefighters do."

CBS 5 viewer Esther Barraza left the following comment:

"This is such a terrible tragedy, our thoughts and prayers to all the families. God protect and bless the firefighters whom day after day risk there lives to protect us."

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