Yarnell Hill Fire: Names of fallen Hotshot crew released - WBRC FOX6 News - Birmingham, AL


Yarnell Hill Fire: Names of fallen Hotshot crew released

John Percin, 24. John Percin, 24.
Jesse Steed, 36. Jesse Steed, 36.
Flag at half-staff outside Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott. (Source: Sean Gates, cbs5az.com) Flag at half-staff outside Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott. (Source: Sean Gates, cbs5az.com)
William Warneke, 25 William Warneke, 25
Garret Zuppiger, 27 Garret Zuppiger, 27

The city of Prescott has released the names of the 19 firefighters who were killed in the Yarnell Hill Fire Sunday night.

Prescott Fire Chief Dan Fraijo read the names at an afternoon news briefing Monday. 

Fourteen of the victims were in their 20s.

-- Andrew Ashcraft, 29

-- Kevin Woyjeck, 21

-- Anthony Rose, 23

-- Eric Marsh, 43

-- Christopher MacKenzie, 30

-- Robert Caldwell, 23

-- Clayton Whitted , 28

-- Scott Norris, 28

-- Dustin Deford, 24

-- Sean Misner, 26

-- Garret Zuppiger, 27

-- Travis Carter, 31

-- Grant McKee, 21

-- Travis Turbyfill, 27

-- Jesse Steed, 36

-- Wade Parker, 22

-- Joe Thurston, 32

-- William Warneke, 25

-- John Percin, 24

"They were dedicated, hardworking people who took their job seriously," Fraijo said. "They never complained. They showed a great deal of respect. I had a great deal of respect for them."

The firefighters were from the Granite Mountain Hotshots based out of Prescott.

There was one surviving team member who was driving a truck full of equipment and was out of the path of the fire when it overtook the firefighters, said information officer Mike Reichling.

Fraijo told reporters he was working another fire when he got a call Sunday afternoon that the Hotshots had deployed their portable emergency shelters while battling the blaze near Yarnell.

Fraijo described the shelters as a "last-ditch effort to save yourself."

Incident Management Team information officer Mary Rasmussen said a command team has been assembled to manage the immediate needs of families of the fallen firefighters.

Rasmussen said they are arranging "what will be a very considerable memorial service." An announcement of those formal memorial services is expected in the days ahead.

Prescott Fire Department spokesman Wade Ward said they've been getting a tremendous outpouring of help from other fire departments locally and nationally.

"We have assembled a team to care for our families," Ward said. "That includes pastors as well as representatives from the fire department. Each one of our families has a liaison of two to four people from those organizations who will be assisting those families."

Mayor Marlin Kuykendall said merchants from the community have been donating food and supplies to the families of the fallen firefighters.

"Families are our prime concern," the mayor said.

Fire investigators have been arriving all day. They've been collecting evidence, Rasmussen said. "We hope to have more complete information in 72 hours," she said.

Gusty monsoon winds are believed to have played a role in trapping the firefighters, who had deployed their fireproof tents as they were overrun by the flames, officials said. They were still trying to determine the events that led to their deaths.

Monday's procession to move the bodies of the fallen firefighters from Prescott to the Phoenix medical examiner's office was a solemn journey. Complete strangers lined the route to pay tribute.

The coroner's vans were flanked by fire trucks from several departments from all across the state. The procession was welcomed with full department honors, including a police officer's color guard and extended Phoenix Fire Department ladders flying a giant American flag.

The bodies were transported to Maricopa County because that facility was the only one that could adequately handle the sheer number of firefighters who lost their lives.

Dozens of well-wishers have been paying their respects by laying flowers in front of one of the fire stations where the Hotshot crew worked.

Even though Prescott is hurting from the loss, residents are confident that after they mourn together the community will bond together stronger than ever.

More than 1,000 people turned out Monday to a Prescott university gym to honor the bravery and sacrifice of the Hotshots crew.

Those in the crowd rocked children in their arms, wiped away tears and applauded robustly after each set of remarks, often rising to their feet. Speakers quoted heavily from scripture and described the firefighters' deaths as Christ-like.

At the end of the ceremony, dozens of firefighters sporting Hotshot shirts and uniforms from other jurisdictions marched to the front of the auditorium. They bowed their heads for a moment of silence in memory of their fallen comrades.

Fifty residences in Yarnell have been destroyed by the lightning-caused fire, a stark contrast to the 250 homes reported to have fallen in the path of the flames on Sunday.

On  Monday, the fire continued to threaten 250 homes and 25 businesses in the community. The small town remains evacuated, along with neighboring Peeples Valley.

At last word the fire stood at 8,374 acres with zero containment.

The fire broke out late Friday afternoon after a lightning strike about four miles from Yarnell, said Arizona State Forestry Division spokeswoman Carrie Dennett.

The fire closed about 20 miles of State Route 89 between Congress south of Kirkland, according to the Arizona Department of Transportation.

Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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