A surreal feeling – Yarnell Fire and a last alarm

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The final photo Arizona firefighter Andrew Ashcraft texted to his wife before dying in the Yarnell Hill fire.

Last week, I posted how we were under a possible smoke evacuation for the Doce fire in Prescott, Arizona. It was a crazy situation. The fire was only about 10 miles from our home and smoke was filling the valley.

Then that fire was 100% contained, and the flames were down (except for a small flareup on the side of the mountain last night that we could see from the house again.) The firemen and hotshots got everything under control with no injuries, no structures burned.

Then, we got word that there were several lightning strikes and that there was a small fire in Yarnell, Yes, just a SMALL fire!. I remember reading the paper to my hubby on the way to Prescott on Sunday morning to drop Griffen off to catch his scout camp ride and that the Yarnell fire was at 200 acres. After returning home, I jumped back on the computer and saw that it was at over 1500 acres and that there were firemen trapped. I called my dad. Next thing I knew, there were reported deaths.  My heart dropped. My dad got choked up.

I called my dear friend Stacey. She and I have grown close over the last several years. Her brother was a friend of Larry’s in high school. She and her hubby, John, homeschool as well. She let me know that the Parker family had lost their son. NO! I have known the Parkers for 20 years! Like father, like son, both AMAZING FIREMEN, Both heroes in our community’s eyes!

Jesse Steed, Gone but not forgotten
Jesse Steed, Gone but not forgotten

Then I saw a fellow alumni from CVHS, Cassidy, brother to another firefighter posted a message that Jesse Steed (Federwisch) was gone.  Jesse and I weren’t close in high school as a matter of fact, I was never really accepted into the popular group after moving here in 8th grade. I was an outsider.

But Jesse was always kind to me. He was a joke-ster. He played soccer. He was really good at soccer! We were in the same class at Chino Valley high school, class of 1995. I have been reading facebook posts and blog posts from friends. And the tears continue to stream. He grew to an amazing man (a marine, a husband, a father, brother and a great friend to many).

Yesterday the list came out. I will mourn these great heroes as will hundreds of thousands of others all across our country. So many we knew or were customers in the shop. We have seen them around our community.  How do you mourn for so many? How do you grasp that “MANY” someones are gone doing what they love?  That is exactly how I have to see it. The passed away doing something that they loved. And we will remember these fine men for that. Pray for their families. Or better yet, tell a police man or a fireman THANK YOU! They put their lives on the line everyday to protect us! Godspeed to all of these fine men. Thank you for your service.

Your last alarm sounded.

A picture of Granite Mountain Hotshot Wade Parker sits at a makeshift memorial near the Hotshot crew’s fire station in Prescott. Parker was one of the 19 firefighters who died Sunday.

Ashcraft, Andrew – Age: 29
Caldwell, Robert – Age: 23
Carter, Travis – Age: 31
Deford, Dustin – Age: 24
MacKenzie, Christopher – Age: 30
Marsh, Eric – Age: 43
McKee, Grant – Age: 21
Misner, Sean – Age: 26
Norris, Scott – Age: 28
Parker, Wade – Age: 22
Percin, John – Age: 24
Rose, Anthony – Age: 23
Steed, Jesse – Age: 36
Thurston, Joe – Age: 32
Turbyfill, Travis – Age: 27
Warneke, William – Age: 25
Whitted, Clayton – Age: 28
Woyjeck, Kevin – Age: 21
Zuppiger, Garret – Age: 27

John 15:13 says “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends”

Thank you Carrie Z for reminding me of this scripture!


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