Thousands of mourners honor 19 fallen firefighters in procession through Arizona as picture of site where they died emerges (2022)

  • Thousands of people mourned the loss of 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots at a procession through Arizona
  • Family members grieved in private, away from the crowds
  • The release of a photo showing the victims lying next to each other under American flags has infuriated family members

By Ap Reporter and Daily Mail Reporter

Published: | Updated:

16 View comments

Thousands of people today paid their respects to the 19 Hotshot firefighters killed in last week's Arizona wildfire at a procession through Phoenix.

Carrying American flags and patriotic signs, the mourners lined highways and overpasses as 19 white hearses carrying the fallen traveled for 125 miles through Arizona cities and towns.

Fellow firefighters, the men's family members and residents of Yarnell, the small town they died trying to save, openly cried as the hourslong caravan crawled past.

The crew of elite Granite Mountain Hotshots was working to build a fire line between the blaze and Yarnell 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.

Scroll down for video

Thousands of mourners honor 19 fallen firefighters in procession through Arizona as picture of site where they died emerges (1)

Patriotic: A motorcade of hearses carrying the remains of 19 members of the Granite Mountain Hotshots firefighting team, who were killed fighting the Yarnell Fire, drive along the crowd filled street around Wesley Bolin Memorial Plaza in Phoenix, Arizona

Thousands of mourners honor 19 fallen firefighters in procession through Arizona as picture of site where they died emerges (2)

Emotional: Former Central Yavapai firefighter Adam Avon, left, and Lee Montgomery wipe away tears after a procession of hearses through downtown Prescott

Thousands of mourners honor 19 fallen firefighters in procession through Arizona as picture of site where they died emerges (3)

Grieving: Two women mourn the tragic death of 19 firefighters in downtown Prescott, Arizona

(Video) The BRUTAL Execution Of Lepa Radic - The Teenage Girl Executed By The Nazis

Thousands of mourners honor 19 fallen firefighters in procession through Arizona as picture of site where they died emerges (4)

A man waves the American flag as hearses, carrying the remains of the 19 members of the Granite Mountain Hotshots firefighting team who were killed fighting the Yarnell Fire, drive past in a motorcade

'It's overwhelming to watch this slow procession of 19 hearses,' Bill Morse, a Flagstaff fire captain stationed in Prescott for a week helping the fire department deal with the tragedy, told Dallas News.

'The ceremonious air of it all. It's heartbreaking.'

Motorcycle escorts, honor guard members, and firefighting trucks accompanied the 19 hearses along the route.

The American flags accompanied the victims as their remains were transported in individual hearses Sunday back to Prescott. The flags will then be given to their families.

Family members of the firefighters watched the procession in private, away from the public and members of the media, according to Dallas News.

Thousands of mourners honor 19 fallen firefighters in procession through Arizona as picture of site where they died emerges (5)

Pictured: An aerial photo shows the site where 19 firefighters were killed in an Arizona wildfire on June 30. The line in dug in the center allowed rescuers to reach the fallen firefighters and remove their bodies

Thousands of mourners honor 19 fallen firefighters in procession through Arizona as picture of site where they died emerges (6)

Honor on parade: A procession of 19 hearses drives through Phoenix July 7 carrying the Prescott firefighters killed while battling a wildfire about a week ago

Thousands of mourners honor 19 fallen firefighters in procession through Arizona as picture of site where they died emerges (7)

Honored: Nineteen Granite Mountain Hotshot firefighters were killed by an out-of-control blaze near Yarnell, Arizona on June 30

An idea to drape the bodies of 19 dead firefighters in American flags came from Yavapai County Sheriff Scott Mascher, shortly after the men were found dead.

(Video) Cops Pull Over Hells Angels - Watch What Happens Next!

‘He was overwhelmed. He was down there at the time the evacuations were in progress, then when he met with the staff and learned of some firsthand details with folks on the scene that the firefighters passed away, he made the decision we need to bring them down the hill in honor,’ agency spokesman Dwight D'Evelyn said.

The fire was 90 percent contained Sunday, after destroying more than 100 homes in Yarnell and burning about 13 square miles. The town remained evacuated Sunday.

Thousands of mourners honor 19 fallen firefighters in procession through Arizona as picture of site where they died emerges (8)

Dearly missed: In a sprawling makeshift memorial, items are displayed to honor the 19 Granite Mountain Hotshot firefighters killed by an out-of-control blaze near Yarnell, Arizona June 30

A few photos were snapped, and the moment was memorialized.

Everyone agreed the pictures would remain private. Then one appeared anonymously Thursday on Facebook: A stark image of the victims lying next to one another in two rows on the scorched earth, American flags draped over the remains.

Several media outlets, including the Arizona Republic and USA Today, published the photo on Friday.

For family members and first responders, the picture is both haunting and a comfort, providing a brief window into how fellow firefighters and law enforcement tried to bring dignity to a situation that was unbearable.

‘I personally felt comfort seeing how taken care of they were and honored at the site,’ said Paul Bourgeois, a Phoenix-area fire chief who is acting as a spokesman in Prescott for the families.

‘What bothers me is the insensitivity of the person who took the picture and shared it.’

Thousands of mourners honor 19 fallen firefighters in procession through Arizona as picture of site where they died emerges (9)

Touching: Linda Lambert places her hand across a plaque outside the Granite Mountain Interagency Hotshot Crew fire station, in Prescott, Arizona, a plaque that carries the names the names of the 19 firefighters killed June 30

Thousands of mourners honor 19 fallen firefighters in procession through Arizona as picture of site where they died emerges (10)

A community mourns: Grief reigned at the Fire Station No. 7 in Prescott, Arizona as they remember the 19 Granite Mountain Hotshot firefighters killed in a June 30 fires

Thousands of mourners honor 19 fallen firefighters in procession through Arizona as picture of site where they died emerges (11)

Tragic: The Arizona fire killed the 19 expert firefighters without warning as winds shifted, whipping the fire all around them with no escape possible

(Video) Actors Who’ve Died in 2021 So Far

The families ‘just feel it was a violation of privacy,’ he said.

Wade Ward, a Prescott fire spokesman, said he had taken similar images and others at the scene, and had met with families of the firefighters and asked them if they wanted to see the photos of the American flag-draped bodies.

Some weren't ready, but they said one day they would be, and when that day came, the photos could be released to the public.

Thousands of mourners honor 19 fallen firefighters in procession through Arizona as picture of site where they died emerges (12)

We walk for our daddy: Family members rode a Prescott Arizona Fire Department truck in honor of their fallen loved ones in a July 6 parade

Thousands of mourners honor 19 fallen firefighters in procession through Arizona as picture of site where they died emerges (13)

Respect: As soon as the bodies were discovered, it was suggested they be covered in American flags, which were subsequently sent to the site by Governor Jan Brewer

Thousands of mourners honor 19 fallen firefighters in procession through Arizona as picture of site where they died emerges (14)

American farewell: Childern dressed as firefighters watch as a fire truck carrying friends and family members of the Granite Mountain Interagency Hotshot Crew lead the Prescott Frontier Days Rodeo Parade July 6

The flags were just one of many efforts to honor the fallen firefighters.

Their bodies have also never been left alone, a tradition that most firefighters follow whenever one of their own is lost.

Someone stands watch with the bodies at the morgue, and accompanies them as they are transported.

Randy Lovely, senior vice president for Republic media, said in an email Saturday that the newspaper had several careful and thoughtful discussions before publishing the photo, including conversations with an ethicist.

(Video) he tried to mess with a guard of the tomb of the unknown soldier.. (BIG MISTAKE)

‘Throughout our conversations two issues were top of mind - honoring our responsibility to chronicle the events of last Sunday but always being mindful of the huge sacrifice of life,’ Lovely wrote.

‘Ultimately, we felt that the picture showed the deliberate care and attention given to honor the firefighters while also filling in more details of the events as they occurred.

'I believe the picture is incredibly moving and a tribute to the 19 men.’

Thousands of mourners honor 19 fallen firefighters in procession through Arizona as picture of site where they died emerges (15)

Wrenching: Creative and touching items decorate the makeshift memorial honoring the fallen 19 firefighters

Thousands of mourners honor 19 fallen firefighters in procession through Arizona as picture of site where they died emerges (16)

Angels with angels: The firefighters were surrounded by and succumbed to flames as they fought to stave off fires from a nearby town and its people

Thousands of mourners honor 19 fallen firefighters in procession through Arizona as picture of site where they died emerges (17)

Grieving: Prescott Fire Marshal Don Devendorf, right, is hugged by Robert Gill as a fire truck carrying friends and family members of Granite Mountain Interagency Hotshot Crew rides in a Prescott, Arizona parade July 6

He said that the Republic doesn't know who exactly took the picture, ‘but we know that only a limited number of officials had access to the scene.’

Officials confirmed the contents of the picture to The Associated Press, but said they didn't know who took it and declined to release another version.

Another photo first posted to Facebook on Saturday, this time by the Prescott Fire Department, shows the site where the fighters were killed.

The aerial shot looks like a moonscape, with no vegetation recognizable on the blackened earth.

A thin road built by a bulldozer cuts through the middle of the land, stopping where the bodies were found.

The highly trained men were in the prime of their lives, and many left behind wives - some pregnant - and small children.

(Video) The appeal of June 1940 | Full Length Movie

Thousands of mourners honor 19 fallen firefighters in procession through Arizona as picture of site where they died emerges (18)

Far and away: Russ Reason, Jr., of North Pole, Alaska, places a signed hat from oil refinery firefighters in Alaska at a makeshift memorial

FAQs

Did the Granite Mountain Hotshots burned to death or suffocate? ›

All but one of the Granite Mountain Hotshots crew members died on June 30, 2013, while fighting the lightning-caused Yarnell Hill Fire. The crew died as they were overrun by flames in a box canyon. The fire too intense and moving too quickly for their shelters to protect them.

How many died in only the brave? ›

In addition to the 19 fatalities, the Yavapai County Sheriff's Office reported that 127 Yarnell buildings had been destroyed, as well as two in Peeples Valley. In total, the Yarnell Fire burned close to 8,400 acres. Why couldn't the Granite Mountain Hotshots outrun the fire?

Why did the Granite Mountain Hotshots leave the black? ›

While moving vehicles with the Blue Ridge crew, McDonough allegedly overheard radio traffic between Marsh and Steed, who was with 17 crew members atop a ridge that had burned days earlier. In the radio call, Marsh told Steed to leave the “black,” which was safe, and join him at the ranch.

Is the Granite Mountain Hotshots still active? ›

The Prescott Hotshots still remains as an elite, professional, and outstanding crew of Wildland Firefighters.

What mistake did the Granite Mountain Hotshots make? ›

…it appears that Marsh violated several basic wildfire rules including not knowing the location of the fire, not having a spotter observing the fire and leading his crew through thick, unburned vegetation near a wildfire. “The division supervisor broke those rules and put those people at risk.”

Why didn't the shelters save the Granite Mountain Hotshots? ›

"They were all under fire shelters and the fire shelters didn't help them in that particular case.” With temperatures exceeding 2,200 degrees Fahrenheit with extreme turbulent air conditions, Mason notes no fire shelter could have protected that crew on June 30 of 2013.

How hot was the fire that killed the Granite Mountain Hotshots? ›

They were deploying fire shelters when the fire overtook them. Temperatures exceeded 2,000 degrees F, and the deployment site was not survivable. The 19 crewmembers were found approximately one mile south-southeast of their last known location, approximately 600 yards west of the Ranch.”

Why did the firefighters died in only the brave? ›

Only the Brave tells the story of the Granite Mountain Hotshots, a highly trained team of wildland firefighters that lost 19 of its 20 members when they became entrapped in the Yarnell Hill blaze in Arizona on June 30, 2013.

Where are the Granite Mountain Hotshots buried? ›

For the years in between, there'll always be services, the Yavapai County Courthouse bell ringing, and honor guard ceremonies at the Arizona Pioneer Home cemetery where 10 of the 19 are buried and plaques honor each crewmember. In 2016, the Granite Mountain Hotshots Memorial State Park opened.

How hot was the fire that killed the Granite Mountain Hotshots? ›

They were deploying fire shelters when the fire overtook them. Temperatures exceeded 2,000 degrees F, and the deployment site was not survivable. The 19 crewmembers were found approximately one mile south-southeast of their last known location, approximately 600 yards west of the Ranch.”

How true is the movie only the brave? ›

A new film called Only The Brave is based on the true story of the 19 members of the Granite Mountain Hotshots who battled, and ultimately lost their lives, in Arizona's Yarnell Hill Fire during late June of 2013.

Who found the bodies of the Granite Mountain Hotshots? ›

At approximately 4:42 p.m., the fire overtook the Granite Mountain Hotshots position. When a helicopter was able to fly into the area over two hours later, Eric Tarr, a police officer–paramedic with the Arizona Department of Public Safety went in on foot and found the 19 bodies.

What caused the Yarnell Hill Fire? ›

In June 2013, the unincorporated community of Yarnell in Yavapai County, Arizona experienced a dangerous wildfire caused by a lightning strike. It took 12 days for emergency personnel to contain the fire, during which time mandatory evacuation orders were in place for the communities of Yarnell and Peeples Valley.

Videos

1. TW - narrated by Google WaveNet TTS synthesizer
(read it aloud)
2. Watch NBC News NOW Live - June 1
(NBC News)
3. Watch NBC News NOW Live - June 18
(NBC News)
4. Watch Full Coronavirus Coverage - May 15 | NBC News Now (Live Stream)
(NBC News)
5. Watch NBC News NOW Live - July 27
(NBC News)
6. Watch Full Coronavirus Coverage - April 17 | NBC News Now (Live Stream)
(NBC News)

Top Articles

Latest Posts

Article information

Author: Pres. Lawanda Wiegand

Last Updated: 11/08/2022

Views: 6738

Rating: 4 / 5 (51 voted)

Reviews: 90% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Pres. Lawanda Wiegand

Birthday: 1993-01-10

Address: Suite 391 6963 Ullrich Shore, Bellefort, WI 01350-7893

Phone: +6806610432415

Job: Dynamic Manufacturing Assistant

Hobby: amateur radio, Taekwondo, Wood carving, Parkour, Skateboarding, Running, Rafting

Introduction: My name is Pres. Lawanda Wiegand, I am a inquisitive, helpful, glamorous, cheerful, open, clever, innocent person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.