100 Club breaks down Yarnell fire donations

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By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey
By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey
By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey
By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey

PHOENIX -- The 100 Club of Arizona is one of the most respected organizations around when it comes to helping the men and women behind the badge.

They've helped raise millions of dollars. Yet, when it comes to the Yarnell Fire where19 firefighters lost their lives, people who later donated are now asking 3 On Your Side, "Where did my money go?"

Sharon Knutson-Felix is the Executive Director for the 100 Club. She says she appreciates the estimated $1.5 million that has been donated. "The State of Arizona is incredibly generous and the 100 Club wouldn't exist if it was not for the generosity of the community," Knutson-Felix told 3 On Your Side. "We have been so amazed because the response has been 19 times what we normally see.   Maybe even more than that.  It's been incredible."

And although numbers are still being crunched, the organization was able to give 3 On Your Side a brief version of where some of the money is going.

So far, the organization says roughly $700,000 has been paid out.  A large portion of that, $300,000, was divided among the survivors of the 19 firefighters.

The remaining amount, right around $400,000, has been spent on a number of expenses including the memorial that honored the 19 firefighters.  Everything from flowers to port-a-potties had to be paid for for the service.

The money was also spent on airfare, including flying in nearly one thousand family members in for the memorial.  Funds were also used to pay for lodging and local transportation.

And finally, not only were donations used to fly the bodies of the firemen back to their final resting place, but all of their individual funerals were included in those expenses.

Knutson-Felix says the cost was steep and they're still trying to get a final tally on expenses.  "I just ask people to give a little time for a complete report and I think people are going to be very pleased and happy and feel good about where they gave their money," Knutson-Felix said.

Once the report is released, 3 On Your Side will comb through it air a follow up report.