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The Prescott Daily Courier | Prescott, Arizona

home : latest news : local April 15, 2014


7/1/2013 2:22:00 PM
Prescott firefighter families gather belongings near makeshift memorial
Matt Hinshaw/The Daily Courier
Juliann Ashcraft, wife of Granite Mountain Hotshot Andrew Ashcraft, is consoled by her father-in-law Tom Ashcraft while looking at a memorial outside of Prescott Fire Department Station No. 7 where the Granite Mountain Hotshots are based, Monday morning in Prescott.
Matt Hinshaw/The Daily Courier
Juliann Ashcraft, wife of Granite Mountain Hotshot Andrew Ashcraft, is consoled by her father-in-law Tom Ashcraft while looking at a memorial outside of Prescott Fire Department Station No. 7 where the Granite Mountain Hotshots are based, Monday morning in Prescott.
Joanna Dodder Nellans
The Daily Courier

PRESCOTT - Family members of the 19 fallen Granite Mountain Hotshots gathered at the hotshots' station along 6th Street in Prescott late Monday morning to console each other and gather the belongings of their loved ones.

Juliann Ashcraft, wife of fallen Granite Mountain Hotshots firefighter Andrew Ashcraft, was among them. She walked out of the fire station holding her husband's hotshot sweater. She stopped to talk briefly with people gathered in front of the fire station at a makeshift memorial.

About the same time, Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett was talking about how his family members saw Juliann Sunday at church in Prescott with her four young children. Bennett was attending a news conference at Prescott High School, and explained he was telling the story only because Juliann already had revealed to the public that her husband Andrew had died.

Bennett's daughter is a lifelong friend of Juliann after they grew up together in Prescott, Bennett related. Bennett's son and daughter-in-law saw Juliann at church Sunday before the tragic deaths unfolded.

"She talked about how she worries when he's out on these fires, but he always comes home," Bennett related.

Bennett's family later learned that Andrew was among the dead.

"Our hearts are just broken," Bennett said. "When the names are released today, we'll probably know another five or 10."

Firefighting jobs are among the best opportunities for young people to stay in Prescott and still make a living, he added.

"I bet everyone in Prescott has got to know one of these men, or knows someone who knows them," he said.

He praised their bravery.

"These firefighters were the best trained in the world," he added. "They were doing what they did because they loved it and wanted to protect people."

Arizona Rep. Andy Tobin said he toured the devastation at Yarnell Sunday, where at least 50 homes have burned. Fire officials updated that figure Monday after flying over the burned area. Previously they had estimated that more like 200 homes had burned.

"I drove into Yarnell and it was so dark, but you could see structures burning, and fire," Tobin said.

A former Prescott resident who now lives in Paulden, Tobin and Mayor Marlin Kuykendall said they have fielded calls of condolence from officials ranging from Sen. John McCain to President Obama.

"The outpouring has just been incredible," Tobin said. "Everyone's in shock.

"I can't stop crying over this."

Prescott City Council members also attended Monday's news conference at the Prescott High School.

"It just tells us how fragile life is," Council Member Steve Blair said of the tragedy.

"I extend my personal condolences to the families and fire department," Council Member Jim Lamerson added. "My heart and prayers are with everybody."

Prescott will somehow move on, he said.

"Prescott is resilient and all this devastating loss is of a magnitude of proportions," Lamerson said. "Our brave and courageous firemen would want us to continue on, and we will."

Related Stories:
• People, charities aid fire victims
• Bodies of 19 fallen firefighters arrive in Phoenix
• Community pays tribute to fallen Prescott firefighters



Reader Comments

Posted: Tuesday, July 02, 2013
Article comment by: Laura Medeiros

My grandparents were residents of Prescott from 1968 - 1996. I used to spend the summer with them. I am very familiar with the ride through Yarnell hill to get there from California. I am grateful for their service and sacrifice and so sorry for the loss of all the families impacted. As you prepare for Frontier days, I'm sure it will be bittersweet, but I hope you will have more sweet than bitter.

Posted: Tuesday, July 02, 2013
Article comment by: Westboro Zombies

Once the time and place for the service is set, send them the info updating the last minute change to the following day.

The other is like the MC group does. People just continue to position in front of them, then a courteous, could you step back. More crowd in front, and repeat. Otherwise shun their non-existent humanity. They thrive on the conflict. Deprive them.

Good news, Phoenix Fire will be here tomorrow to spell the guys by taking over the local response duty.


Posted: Tuesday, July 02, 2013
Article comment by: Captain Howdy

I found this on Facebook. There is a non-profit called, Stop The Westboro Baptist Church. On their page they listed all the contact info for these nut jobs. So here it is.

(785) 273-0325 The Church
(785) 273-0325 - Fred W. Phelps Sr., cell phone
(785) 272-4135 - Fred Phelps, Jr.
(785) 273-0529 - Benjamin Phelps
(785) 273-0277 & (785) 273-1080 - Shirley Roper
(785) 272-8559 - Charles Hockenbarger
(785) 232-2485 - Fax for Charles Hockenbarger
(785) 233-4162 - Phelps Family Law Office
(785) 233-0766 - Fax for Phelps Family Law Office
(785) 969-9017 - Steve Drain


Posted: Tuesday, July 02, 2013
Article comment by: Mr Maverick

Just ask the American Legion Riders and possibly the Patriot Guards and we will keep the Baptists far away from disturbing any funerals. Escorting funerals is one of the things the American Legion Riders do for families, Post 6, Prescott Az. .

Posted: Tuesday, July 02, 2013
Article comment by: We are part of an unbreakable community

We should show our unity in caring for those who we have lost and those who are grieving. Let's tie red and white ribbons outside our homes to show our love and respect. Let's show our unity and love as a community for those who have been lost, and those who have lost someone they love in this terrible tragedy. Let's show them we are thinking of them.

Posted: Tuesday, July 02, 2013
Article comment by: s Monroe

We echo our offer from the previous fire.

we have a motorhome in Ponsderosa Park that can take 3-4 adults and we have a fenced yard for dogs.

God Bless You All..

S & S Monroe


Posted: Tuesday, July 02, 2013
Article comment by: Jon Valles

We should all be aware that the Westboro Baptist Church have promised to picket the funeral services for these 19 fallen heroes. If you are not aware or not familiar with these nut jobs, just go to their website. I kid you not, this is the name of their "Christian" website. This so called "church" picket funerals of soldiers K.I.A., and of the like!

Posted: Monday, July 01, 2013
Article comment by: jimmy smith

Westboro stay out our town!

Posted: Monday, July 01, 2013
Article comment by: John Marks

I a so proud to live in a community that pulls together in time of need. Thanks especially go out to the caring Home Depot workers who handed out water for all the Memorial guests. And all the other local business that have donated time ad resources.

Posted: Monday, July 01, 2013
Article comment by: James Willis

I would like to take this time to say I truly feel for the loss of these Great people. This a extremely sad day for us all. Not only did these few brave firefighter die in the line of duty they did so knowing they were saving peoples homes and lives. There are no word any person can say that will make it feel better. We know they are hero's and they did what they loved to do. As for the 20th firefighter that lived don't feel sad that you couldn't help them. Feel proud that you can go on and show them you lived for a reason to continue to help people without thought or fear of losing your own life. To me that is a hero. I may not know all the customs of a fire fighter I am from the L.E. brotherhood however I am sure they both have the same tight group of great people for help and support in this sad tragedy. From one brotherhood to another We are here for you! Feel free to call when you need help!

Posted: Monday, July 01, 2013
Article comment by: Mav Rick

To # 20. Don't feel that you should have been with them and perished as well. I returned from Viet Nam and felt that way for many years after watching several die. You can and will survive. "Our brave and courageous firemen would want us to continue on, and we will."
May God bless those who served and gave their lives and God bless you as well.


Posted: Monday, July 01, 2013
Article comment by: Howard Sheldon

Just a thought:

One way to deal with Westboro Baptist Church is to ignore their existence "if they show up".

They want to get into arguments and shouting matches.so that they can get Free TV exposure at someone else's expense.

Totally ignore them as if they do not exist will defeat why they are here... to get FREE TV EXPOSURE!

Deny them that.... by refusing to recognize that they even exist,

They are just cockroaches.

Two Cents


Posted: Monday, July 01, 2013
Article comment by: Melissa Brown

Our Hearts are at a loss for the 19 Hotshots Lost, But # 20 our Hearts, Prayers, and Love are with you too!! YOU ARE NOT FORGOTTEN!!!

Posted: Monday, July 01, 2013
Article comment by: Oshirah Gershon

http://www.youtube.com/watch? feature=player_embedded&v=1gm0nvzGxkQ#t=3s

if you can go to the above link it will bring Peace unto you i placed it here for all to hear at this time of sorrow or any time.

May Psalm 27 give you the Peace which surpasses all understanding.

Condolence's and Sympathy to the families of the fire fighters who have given of their lives. May you be placed within our Heavenly Father's hands for your strength at this time.


Posted: Monday, July 01, 2013
Article comment by: Westboro church Plans to Picket our Firefighters

You can read the tweets from Westboro on their Twitter account. The website heavy.com also has an article on this.

So, it seems that there is the likelihood that these false Christians will be here to picket.

We, as a community, need to come together to protect our town & especially the loved ones of the fallen firefighters (who are now in God's presence) from these parasites of the true Christian faith. These westboro miscreants only draw lost souls further away from Christ, with their mouths & hearts that spew forth only hatred.



Posted: Monday, July 01, 2013
Article comment by: Alan Whitney

Robert Gouge, I am awed.

Posted: Monday, July 01, 2013
Article comment by: Robert Gouge

Rest easy Brothers.
I'll meet you on the other side.

You with boots still in the Black, we're here.
We'll always be here.
To the loved ones, we're here.

We are forged in Fire, Elemental. Eternal.
We will always be here.




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