In Loving Memory Of The 19 Members Of Arizona's Elite "HotShot" Firefighters Crew ~ Dedicated to Raine.

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Normal Re: In Loving Memory Of The 19 Members Of Arizona's Elite "HotShot" Firefighters Crew ~ Dedicated to Raine.

Post by Wrapitup on Thu Aug 08, 2013 11:46 pm

DONE!

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Normal Re: In Loving Memory Of The 19 Members Of Arizona's Elite "HotShot" Firefighters Crew ~ Dedicated to Raine.

Post by raine1953 on Thu Aug 08, 2013 11:46 pm

Thank you!!!!
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Normal Re: In Loving Memory Of The 19 Members Of Arizona's Elite "HotShot" Firefighters Crew ~ Dedicated to Raine.

Post by Wrapitup on Fri Aug 09, 2013 12:03 am

 

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Normal Firefighters' Widows Oppose Release Of Records To Media Organizations

Post by NiteSpinR on Tue Oct 29, 2013 2:57 am

Oct 24, 2013

Widows and other family members of several of the 19 firefighters killed June 30 in the Yarnell Hill Fire are asking a judge to deny two media organizations' requests for access to more records.

A Yavapai County Superior Court judge in Camp Verde on Wednesday held a hearing on a lawsuit filed on behalf of The Arizona Republic and KPNX-TV.

The media organizations are requesting photos from the fire scene and investigative records but not photos of human remains or of personal effects.

Media attorney David Bodney said release of the requested records would allow the public to assess the performance of public officials, but three firefighters' widows testified that releasing more records would be intrusive.

The hearing will continue in November.

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Normal Firefighters' Loved Ones Organize Benefit To Rebuild Over 100 Homes Lost During The Yarnell Fire

Post by NiteSpinR on Tue Oct 29, 2013 3:02 am

Oct 28, 2013

Wives, fiancées and others close to some of the firefighters who perished in the Yarnell Hill Fire are trying to help the community their loved ones died trying to protect.

KPHO-TV reports that a fundraising event held Sunday in Prescott raised $18,000 for Yarnell. The community lost more than 100 homes.

Those participating in the benefit to raise money to rebuild homes and restore infrastructure included Leah Fine. She was engaged to Grant McKee, one of the 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots who died June 30.

Fine says Yarnell is no longer just a dot on the map or a place that people drive through on their way to California. She says it's now a reminder of the men who lost their lives.

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Normal Dedicated to Raine. Miss YOU!!

Post by Wrapitup on Tue Oct 29, 2013 7:42 pm

Fine says Yarnell is no longer just a dot on the map or a place that people drive through on their way to California. She says it's now a reminder of the men who lost their lives.
I am dedicating this thread to Raine. If you go back and read, she lost a family member in this fire. She fought this complete lack of disregard tooth and nail for as LONG as she could while dealing with her very survival.

May the "Ashcraft'" family and all the lives lost..the wifes and the babies, the mothers and fathers..find some peace.

Fires are nothing to joke about and these men fought for their last breath!!









Last edited by Wrapitup on Mon Jun 30, 2014 5:27 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Normal An Arizona Commission That Oversees Workplace Safety Blamed The State's Forestry Division In The Deaths Of The 19 Firefighters

Post by NiteSpinR on Wed Dec 04, 2013 11:59 pm

Dec 4, 2013

An Arizona commission that oversees workplace safety blamed the state's Forestry Division on Wednesday for the June deaths of 19 firefighters, saying state fire officials knowingly put protection of property ahead of safety and should have pulled crews out earlier.

The ruling by the state Industrial Commission came after its investigative agency, the Arizona Division of Occupational Safety and Health, released its findings and recommended citations and financial penalties. The commission levied a $559,000 fine.

The ADOSH report was a stinging rebuke of an earlier investigation commissioned by the Forestry Division, which found that state fire officials communicated poorly but followed proper procedures when 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots were killed in a blaze near the small community of Yarnell northwest of Phoenix.

All but one member of the crew died June 30. The Hotshots were trapped as the flames they were battling changed direction in a fierce thunderstorm. The Arizona State Forestry Division oversaw the fight against the blaze that sparked on state land.

The ADOSH investigation found that state fire officials lacked key personnel to battle the Yarnell Hill Fire at critical times. Marshall Krotenberg, the safety agency's lead investigator, told the commission there should have been officers to ensure firefighters' safety, a planning section chief and a division supervisor, who wasn't replaced after he abandoned his post.

Family members who attended the hearing sobbed softly when the names of the dead were read.

Juliann Ashcraft, whose husband, Andrew Ashcraft, was killed, said the report provides important insight.

"Finally, people that are educated, that are experienced, that have researched it and have a less biased opinion- they're just there objectively- that they get it," she said.

Krotenberg told commissioners that fire managers should have removed firefighters an hour before the thunderstorm arrived.

"The storm was anticipated, it was forecasted, everybody knew it," he said. "But there was no plan to move people out of the way."

In addition, senior fire managers had already determined that the town itself was indefensible, he said.

The commission's chairman, David Parker, said he believed the fire management team on site did everything in its power to defend the community and provide for the safety of people.

"But it's not the intention of the people that (is) in question, it's that employees remained exposed after they no longer should be exposed," he said.

Carrie Dennett, a spokeswoman for the Forestry Division, said the agency fully cooperated with the investigation and declined comment. The Forestry Division has 15 working days to appeal.

Gov. Jan Brewer's office also declined comment, citing pending litigation. The mother of one of the firefighters has filed a $36 million notice of claim against the state, Yavapai County and the city of Prescott, saying their negligence led to the death of her son.

The safety agency's review occurred simultaneously but separately from a three-month investigation by national experts into the circumstances surrounding the deaths. That report was released in September and found lapses in communication from the crew in the hour before the firefighters died. It also found that proper procedure was followed but did not say whether deaths were avoidable nor did it place blame.

The ADOSH investigation found that the state Forestry Division didn't respond to a request the evening before for two safety officers, key positions in large firefighting efforts.

Krotenberg said the oversight was the result of an unknown mistake. "Apparently, it got dropped," he said. "The ball got dropped."

Firefighting crews were still battling the fire even after the incident command post was evacuated, according to the ADOSH report.

The bulk of the proposed fine is $475,000- $25,000 for each of the 19 deaths. That money will be paid to the firefighters' families. They were employed by the city of Prescott but working under a standing contract with the state Forestry Division for the Yarnell Hill Fire. The ADOSH investigation found that the city of Prescott was in compliance with standards for training and crew rest.

The crew members had been in a relatively safe position on a ridge top. For an unknown reason and without notifying anyone, they moved down the mountainside through an unburned area where they were trapped by a wall of flames when winds shifted the fire in their direction.

They deployed their emergency shelters but perished in the scorching heat.

The surviving crew member, Brendan McDonough, was away from the others and acting as a lookout. He might have suffered the same fate had he not been picked up by another crew leader who happened to be driving by after McDonough radioed in to say he was retreating, Krotenberg said.

"Essentially, it was in the nick of time, and he didn't have to deploy his shelter," Krotenberg said.

The report praised the Granite Mountain Hotshots for remaining "alert, unimaginably calm, thinking clearly and taking decisive action." While the crew followed most of standard firefighting guidelines, the safety agency faulted the men for not scouting or timing alternative escape routes, not having a lookout as they moved toward a ranch property identified as a safety zone, and not notifying their supervisor of their movements.

The fire destroyed more than 100 homes and burned 13 square miles before it was fully contained on July 10.

Dan Parker, whose son Wade Parker was killed, is a firefighter himself in northern Arizona. He said it's time for the state "to change the coach."

"As far as blaming somebody at this point, right now, on a personal level, I think it's futile," Parker said. "But having been a captain on a fire engine, and worked in the fire service as long as I have, I know that if I was involved in an incident where somebody was injured or killed, then my butt would have been on the hot seat and I would have been held accountable."

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Normal benefit package that Andrew Ashcraft earned has finally been approved

Post by Nama on Wed May 28, 2014 1:12 pm

I just received this in an email:

Hello Friends!
We have exciting news to share with you all. All over 185,460 of you! That is, just last week the benefit package that Andrew Ashcraft earned has finally been approved! Now, his wife Julian, Ryder, Shiloh, Tate and Choice can receive that which Andrew worked so very hard for his family for. So, we want to say "THANK YOU !" for your support, your kind and encouraging words to our family. Your response has been overwhelming in so many ways. It just goes to show that we share a very special connection. We are humbled by your support and want to express our gratitude again by saying thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
Thank you!
Tom Ashcraft

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This message was sent by Tom Ashcraft using the Change.org system. You received this email because you signed a petition started by Tom Ashcraft on Change.org: "Our fallen hero Andrew Ashcraft: get the family Andrew's benefit package that they were promised." Change.org does not endorse contents of this message.

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Normal Re: In Loving Memory Of The 19 Members Of Arizona's Elite "HotShot" Firefighters Crew ~ Dedicated to Raine.

Post by Nama on Wed May 28, 2014 1:13 pm

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On the day he died with 18 other members of the Granite Mountain Hotshots, Andrew Ashcraft was classified as a seasonal employee with the city of Prescott.

On Thursday, an independent board determined that Ashcraft deserved pension benefits no different from those of the crew's permanent employees.

That ensures Ashcraft's wife and four children will receive hundreds of thousands of dollars in survivor's benefits over the next 20 years.

The Prescott board of the Public Safety Personnel Retirement System voted 4-1 to make Ashcraft eligible over the objections of city officials, who said he wasn't qualified.

Juliann Ashcraft, who has argued for months that her husband had the same duties, the same pay and worked the same hours as other permanent employees, reacted with tears and quiet elation.

"It is such a relief. I am grateful 100 percent to the board," Juliann Ashcraft said. "Andrew earned this. I felt like I was beating my head against a brick wall. ... It's going to take a big, big burden off of us. Emotionally and financially."

Board members were openly emotional about their votes, with one member saying he prayed for guidance, another comparing the situation to deaths in combat and another referring to Ashcraft's sacrifice.

City officials said the vote lacked specifics and left them no way to calculate how much the decision will cost the city.

"We don't feel like the board applied the facts of the case or the law in making their decision," City Attorney Jon Paladini said after the two-day hearing. "The motion is very unclear as to what it means. We can't say ... what benefits Ashcraft is entitled to or how much it will cost the city."

The city could appeal, but no decision has been made.

The 19 firefighters, who were employed by Prescott, died June 30 when flames overran their position near Yarnell. The widow of another seasonal firefighter applauded the board's decision.

"It's such good news," said Roxanne Warneke, who was married to Billy Warneke, 25. She said she whooped out loud in a Marana restaurant when she read online about the decision in Ashcraft's favor.

"She knew she was in the right; she knew she was fighting for what was right," Warneke said.

Warneke said the decision makes her hopeful for herself and the families of the other seasonal firefighters who had wives and children that they also may qualify for additional benefits.

The vote almost didn't happen Thursday. The local board first sought to delay a decision until June 4.

The board, which was established by state legislation, includes Prescott Mayor Marlin Kuykendall, two members of the Prescott Fire Department and two citizen representatives.

Immediately after the motion was made to delay, one of the firefighter representatives, Eric Kriwer, said he was ready to vote in favor of extending benefits to Ashcraft. The board went into executive session before returning and taking its vote.

Kuykendall cast the dissenting vote. He said he wanted more time to consider the evidence. He declined further comment.

The city's position was that Ashcraft was a seasonal employee and that his duties in the off-season were not considered hazardous, which is a key element for inclusion in the Public Safety Personnel Retirement System.

Ashcraft had been chosen by fire officials to fill a permanent post, but the position had been frozen because of budget cuts.

Phoenix-based lawyer Patrick McGroder, who represents Juliann Ashcraft, said the decision recognizes the hazardous work undertaken by hotshots year-round.

"Through this board's decision, there is finally recognition of what a hotshot is and what a hotshot does," he said.

McGroder contended that even in the off-season, Ashcraft and other firefighters worked on the same tasks they did during fire season, clearing brush and managing fuel. McGroder said the year-round work made him eligible for pension benefits.

"That's what these guys do," he said. "They fight fires with their hands, with tools, with chainsaws."

Ashcraft, who had the position of a lead crew sawyer, often worked more than 50 hours a week. McGroder said because of the budget cuts, Ashcraft wasn't given the same retirement benefits as another lead crew member, Travis Turbyfill.

City records show Ashcraft was first hired in 2011, when he worked during the fire season. He rejoined the crew in 2012 and worked as a firefighter and then over the winter on a city snow-removal crew. He was not paid for a week in February 2013 and then rejoined the crew, records show.

Personnel records show Ashcraft signed a form acknowledging his temporary status when he was hired in 2011.

The city and the retirement system paid lump-sum distributions to the beneficiaries of the six permanent hotshots. Those beneficiaries also receive annual lifetime payments.

The death benefits for the six full-time hotshots will require Prescott to pay $5.2 million to the retirement system, which bills communities based on their employees' liabilities. A state budget passed in April gave Prescott $1 million for each of the next five years to subsidize most of that cost.

McGroder estimated benefits to the Ashcraft family to be about $700,000 in present-day value. But benefits are scheduled to be paid out over 20 years and would be worth significantly more over time.

Paladini said he was unsure if the board's decision would open up the city to claims by other survivors of seasonal crew members. He said the ambiguity of the decision leaves officials with more questions than answers.

"I understand the emotion. We all have compassion," he said. "But the decision has to be guided by law."

Paladini, the city attorney, said the City Council would have to weigh in on a possible appeal. He also said the state Public Safety Personnel Retirement System might file an appeal of its own.

Jim Hacking, administrator of the state system, said Thursday his agency would not stand in the way of the local board granting Ashcraft permanent status posthumously, assuming documentation is in order.

Juliann Ashcraft and at least 11 other families have filed notices of wrongful-death claims against the city seeking tens of millions of dollars in damages. She has until June 30 to file a lawsuit.

She attended the hearing with several relatives, including several of her siblings, her parents and Andrew's mother.

"I was able to let go of some things," she said, adding that the board's decision will allow her to more easily commemorate the upcoming anniversary of the deaths.

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Normal Re: In Loving Memory Of The 19 Members Of Arizona's Elite "HotShot" Firefighters Crew ~ Dedicated to Raine.

Post by NiteSpinR on Wed May 28, 2014 2:10 pm

THANK YOU NAMA! This is really great news!

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Normal Re: In Loving Memory Of The 19 Members Of Arizona's Elite "HotShot" Firefighters Crew ~ Dedicated to Raine.

Post by Wrapitup on Wed May 28, 2014 2:37 pm

YES, it is!!! Our "Raine" would be ecstatic!!

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Normal A year after 19 firefighters died, city remembers.

Post by Wrapitup on Mon Jun 30, 2014 5:31 pm

BY FELICIA FONSECA
Associated Press June 30, 2014 Updated 1 hour ago

Firefighters Killed
Old wildfire fire fighting gear once part of a makeshift memorial, are just some of the thousands of artifacts carefully cataloged and saved for the Tribute Fence Preservation Project honoring the 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots who were killed nearly a year ago fighting an Arizona wildfire on Tuesday, June 24, 2014, in Prescott, Ariz. ROSS D.

PRESCOTT, ARIZ. — This Arizona city is marking the first anniversary of the deaths of 19 wildland firefighters with a series of tributes and remembrances that will include a ceremony featuring a bell-ringing and reading of the names of the Granite Mountain Hotshots.

Businesses around Prescott displayed banners in honor of the firefighters, and visitors and residents wore T-shirts bearing their unit's logo and "19" to mark the number of deaths. The firefighters died June 30, 2013 when they were overrun by flames while fighting an erratic brush fire near Prescott.

Dozens of people also gathered early Monday to hike a butte that was a favorite training spot of the firefighters. Visitors and residents attended an exhibit at a Prescott hotel that showcases the men and their time on the fire lines.

Terri Brahm was walking through the exhibit with her uncle, Ron Markus, both wearing T-shirts they bought Sunday to wear in remembrance of the Hotshots.

"Everybody still talks about it, every day," she said. "Something always reminds us."

Since the deaths, Brahm said her son has become inspired to become a Hotshot himself.

Meanwhile, the men's families plan to gather Monday for a private service at the Prescott cemetery where many of Hotshots are buried.

Ten of the firefighters were laid to rest there, but each of the 19 has a plot with a bronze grave marker that will be etched with images taken from family photos. Surrounding the plots is a wall where mourners can sit and room for family members to be buried alongside the firefighters.

"It's remarkable that they indeed did keep all 19 of them together," said Gayemarie Ekker, whose son Joe Thurston was killed. "That as families, we do have that place to go and reflect."

Former Prescott Fire Chief Dan Fraijo and Wildland Division Chief Darrell Willis are scheduled to speak to the families at the cemetery.

Joe Woyjeck said his son and his son's girlfriend planned to travel to Prescott to thank people in person for supporting the Hotshots. But the rest of his family will keep things low-key at home in California in remembering his son, Kevin, he said.

Woyjeck and his wife were in Prescott recently and sat on a rock at the site where the Hotshots died in a brush-choked canyon while battling the Yarnell Hill Fire. He said his family has gotten through the tragedy by focusing on something Kevin taught them when he was a boy: that people choose to be unhappy.

"I choose to be happy with this, and I think we're going to celebrate life that day with what we do," he said of the anniversary.

Danny Parker, who lost his son, Wade, said that aside from going to the cemetery, the family will keep the day's events to a "dull roar."

The city of Prescott, which had the country's only municipal Hotshot crew, is shutting down early Monday for the ceremony.

Katie Cornelius has gathered stories of the brotherhood formed by Hotshots who spend months together battling the country's most severe wildfires, of the raucousness at camp that included contests on who could eat the most tubs of gravy. Those stories, along with photos of the men, will be displayed on sections of chain-link fence inside the Hotel St. Michael.

"When you start to understand what that life was, you can say, 'What a crazy, awesome life," she said.

A play produced by local musician, author and actor Ered Matthew was inspired by the stories behind items left on a memorial fence. Matthew said he was struck by a T-shirt from Albuquerque, New Mexico, that read, "Requirements. No egos. No badges. No resume builders. Willing hearts."

The fence allowed a framework for people to express their emotions by leaving books they read to their children, fire hats, roses and stuffed animals, he said.

"Once you know the story of why they left it, people will realize other people share their grief in a similar way," he said.

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Prayers for our little HaLeigh Cummings, wherever she may be!!

Nine-tenths of wisdom is appreciation. Go find somebody’s hand and squeeze it, while there’s time.
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Thank you RAINE for all you ARE!! I will ALWAYS hold you in my Heart!!
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