Prescott, AZ: 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots firefighters make 125 mile journey home.
The 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots firefighters who were killed in a wildfire a week ago went home to the community they all loved and serviced of Prescott, Arizona on Sunday.
The bodies were placed in individual white hearses then the long line of white hearses traveled for 125 miles through Arizona cities and towns well thousands of people including fellow firefighters, the firefighters’ family members, city and state representatives, complete strangers, and residents from across Arizona and the nation stood patiently in triple digit heat temperatures along the streets of Phoenix, Arizona, lined along highways and overpasses, and along the streets of Downtown Prescott, Arizona to remember and pay their respect to the 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots firefighters.
The nearly 5 hour long procession began near the State Capitol of Arizona in Phoenix, Arizona were the long line of white hearses went through the Arizona community where the 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots firefighters were killed well fighting the Yarnell Hill Fire in Yarnell, Arizona.
Motorcycle, honor guard members, and firefighting trucks accompanied and escorted the 19 white hearses along the route passing under giant United States of American flags hoisted above the street with 2 fire department ladder trucks well bagpipes played as those along the procession cried, they saluted, and held their hands over their hearts.
The long line of white hearses ended in the Arizona mountain community of Prescott, Arizona where they lived and will be laid to rest.
A red and white DC-3 airplane released long purple and pink ribbons overhead with each firefighter’s name on the ribbons which than drifted slowly down to the earth just before the hearses came to a stop outside the Yavapai County Medical Examiner’s Office in Prescott, Arizona.
Inside each of the 19 white hearses was the American flags draped over the firefighter’s bodies which reportedly have been with them since their passing protecting and will be given to their families after theyt are buried
Family members of the 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots firefighters watched the procession in private as the long line of white hearses passed by a massive makeshift memorial outside the Prescott Fire House Station 7 located at 501 6th Street in Prescott, Arizona where the 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots firefighters were based.
The massive makeshift memorial includes pictures of the 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots firefighters as well as hundreds of personal messages and prayers, American flags, flowers, teddy bears, and variations on the number 19 including 19 water bottles, 19 shovels, and 19 toy fire department trucks surrounding a stuffed.
The 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots firefighters were working to build a fire line between the wildfire and the community of Yarnell, Arizona when erratic winds suddenly shifted the fire’s direction, causing it to hook around the firefighters and cut off access to a ranch that was to be their safety zone.
The 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots firefighters were killed a week ago well they were fighting the Yarnell Hill Fire which was sparked by lightning on Friday, June 28th, 2013 in Yarnell, Arizona.
5 of 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots firefighters killed last Sunday were from Southern California.
Kevin Woyjeck was the son of Los Angeles County Fire Captain Joe Woyjeck and was a former Los Angeles County Fire Department Explorer and worked as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) for Care Ambulance Service.
Chris MacKenzie and Billy Warneke were both originally from Hemet, California.
Grant McKee grew up in Costa Mesa, California and attended Newport Harbor High School before moving to Arizona to become a Granite Mountain Hotshots firefighters.
Grant McKee’s cousin, Robert Caldwell was also killed in the wildfire.
Andrew Ashcraft had lived in Orange, California and Garden Grove, California and leaves behind a wife and 4 young children.
The City of Prescott, Arizona released on Tuesday the names of the fallen firefighters on Monday who put their lives on the line to save others and their community:
– 29 year old Andrew Ashcraft
– 23 year old Robert Caldwell
– 31 year old Travis Carter
– 24 year old Dustin Deford
– 30 year old Christopher MacKenzie
– 43 year old Eric Marsh
– 21 year old Grant McKee
– 26 year old Sean Misner
– 28 year old Scott Norris
– 22 year old Wade Parker
– 24 year old John Percin
– 23 year old Anthony Rose
– 36 year old Jesse Steed
– 32 year old Joe Thurston
– 27 year old Travis Turbyfill
– 25 year old William Warneke
– 28 year old Clayton Whitted
– 21 year old Kevin Woyjeck
– 27 year old Garret Zuppiger
A fireman who belonged to the 20 person team survived because he was moving the crew’s truck.
According to the Prescott Fire Chief Dan Fraijo, all 19 were from the Prescott Fire Department’s Granite Mountain Hotshot crew.
According to Arizona State Forestry Division Spokesman Mike Reichling, at least 19 fire shelters were deployed, and some of the firefighters were found inside them, while others were outside the shelters.
In a separate Wednesday afternoon news conference, fire department officials introduced the team handling the investigation into the 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots firefighters’ deaths.
The investigation will take 2 to 3 months and the investigation team will recreate the incident from beginning to end.
Last week, United States President Barack Obama said in a statement. “Michelle and I join all Americans in sending our thoughts and prayers to the families of these brave firefighters and all whose lives have been upended by this terrible tragedy.”
A memorial service for all 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots firefighters killed while battling the Yarnell Hill Fire is scheduled for 11:00am MST on Tuesday, July 9th, 2013 at Tim’s Toyota Center located at 3201 North Main Street in Prescott Valley, Arizona.
Many peoples including fellow firefighters, the firefighters’ family members, city and state representatives, government officials, complete strangers, and residents from across Arizona and the nation are reportedly will be at the memorial service.
United States Vice President Joe Biden and Arizona Governor Jan Brewer are all expected to pay their respects to the 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots firefighters.
Many television affiliates will have live coverage of the memorial service for the 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots firefighters.
ZachNews will have news coverage of the memorial service for all 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots firefighters.
** ZachNews send our thoughts, prayers, and condolences to the families and friends of the 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots firefighters. **