Families, friends of The Yarnell 19 speak out

Posted: Updated:
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

PRESCOTT, Ariz. -- As the nation mourns the loss of the 19 firefighters killed by the Yarnell Hill Fire, 3TV wants to share some quotes gathered from family members and close friends of the fallen.

Watch the video above to learn a little bit more about these heroes who were such an important part of the Prescott community.

Photos of The Yarnell 19

Granite Mountain Hotshots and hotshots everywhere, all over our country, sacrifice everything every day -- their children’s birthdays, their friends’ weddings, every day. And these guys just so happened to sacrifice their lives. But, don’t forget about the rest of them, because they hadn’t been thanked enough. This is what it takes for them to be thanked. Don’t forget who’s saving your homes.

-- Claire Caldwell, Wife of Robert Caldwell

All those guys died right around each other. I’m sure my son was trying to do everything to his very end, not just for himself but for all the guys out there.

-- David Caldwell, Father of Robert Caldwell

His goal in life was he wanted to be on the fire crew. He wanted to be on the best. He wanted to get on the elite crew.

-- Jack Warneke, Grandfather of William Warneke

He wanted to be a firefighter like his dad, like me. We come from a family of firefighters, we go to work. We know there's a risk. You spend your whole life protecting your children. And then knowingly letting him go into harm's way, I can only imagine how my parents felt when I became a firefighter.

-- Joe Woyjeck, Father of Kevin Woyjeck

The thing that hurts me the most is that he worked his whole life for this. Finally is where he wants to be. Taken away so quickly.

-- Jason Lampert, Best friend of Sean Misner

They died heroes. They were heroes in our homes, heroes in our community. They're real people with real families too. We love and miss them.

-- Juliann Ashcraft, Wife of Andrew Ashcraft

These guys are heroes. How do you tell a hero to be safe? He fought fires in California, Alaska, Hawaii, Florida. He was a hero to the nation.

---Roger Federwisch, Uncle of Jesse Steed 

I loved those guys like brothers. It was my second family. I would do anything for them.

-- Renan Packer, Granite Mountain Hotshot sidelined by injury

Bell tolls for fallen heroes

"These men have made the ultimate sacrifice for their community," said Capt. Jonathan Jacobs of the Phoenix Fire Department. "The dedication, perseverance and steadfastness that these men possessed will be greatly missed."

"Many are called, but few are chosen to be heroes," he continued. "To the crew of Granite Mountain, you will not be forgotten. Godspeed."


In the wake of the Yarnell Hill Fire tragedy, Gov. Jan Brewer ordered flags on state buildings to be lowered to half-staff in honor of the fallen firefighters. On Wednesday, when the flags were initially going to be raised, she extended the length of time of the tribute to 19 days -- one for each of the firefighters lost.

“In honor of each fallen member of the Granite Mountain Interagency Hotshot Crew, I have ordered that State flags remain lowered until sunset Friday, July 19, 2013. Let us keep the memories of these men alive in our hearts, and let our prayers be with their families, friends and all of the firefighters who continue their critical work in Arizona and across our country.

"These 19 men made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of people and property. As members of the elite Granite Mountain Interagency Hotshot Crew, they knew well the risk inherent in their jobs, and accepted this burden with honor, selflessness and bravery. The word ‘hero’ is invoked a lot these days. These men embodied the term, and will forever be remembered as such."