First property owners set to rebuild in Yarnell

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By Andrew Michalscheck By Andrew Michalscheck

YARNELL, Ariz. -- Two and a half months after Roy and Stacy Pizzirusso lost their Glen Ilah home, they will be the first in Yarnell to break ground.

“Until now, we’ve been clutching to ashes,” said Roy Pizzirusso.

However, plans drawn up on paper will soon come to life. Work on their rebuild will officially begin Saturday afternoon. The entire community is invited to take part, a community which has bonded even closer through tragedy.

“We hung together too much, and it made us too strong,” said Stacy Pizzirusso. “I had everyone in the community come up to me and cry with me, offered to do anything. Anything I needed. They even knew my business was in trouble because we had to close the shop for three weeks. They came shopping in my store to make sure I wouldn’t go out of business.”

Pizzirusso told 3TV the decision to rebuild in the town she loves was an easy one. She said she hopes others take her lead.

Despite the rejection of federal aid, recovery efforts in Yarnell continue to move forward.

“We’re doing a good job of knowing we have to take care of ourselves,” said Frances Lechner of Yarnell Hill Recovery Group.

The Pizzirussos have insurance. However, a percentage of others do not. Lechner says faith-based groups will help the uninsured rebuild, within the coming months. The focus will then turn to the under-insured.

It’s estimated at least 120 homes were lost in all during the devastating fire in late June. Weeks later, the community is beginning a new chapter, while never forgetting the nineteen Granite Mountain Hotshots who died protecting it.

“The best way to honor those young men and their sacrifice is to do everything we can to revitalize Yarnell,” said Lechner. “That is the way to commemorate their sacrifice.”

For more information on recovery efforts, or how to help, visit: