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Hotshot firefighters to be memorialized today at Arizona service

July 09, 2013|By Rick Rojas
  • Patty Brookins, director of human resources for the Central Yavapai Fire Department, ties purple ribbons and banners with the names of each of the 19 fallen Granite Mountain Hotshot firefighters to 19 U.S. flags outside Tim's Toyota Center.
Patty Brookins, director of human resources for the Central Yavapai Fire… (Julie Jacobson / Associated…)

PRESCOTT VALLEY, Ariz. -- The family, friends and firefighters from throughout the country are gathering at a city arena Tuesday morning to honor the memory of 19 elite firefighters killed combating the Yarnell fire more than a week ago.

Vice President Joe Biden and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, who is also the former Arizona governor, are expected to attend.

It is a community filled with marks of grief: Nineteen American flags are posted on street corners along with 19 white crosses shrouded in purple fabric. On Sunday thousands lined the streets for a procession of 19 hearses as the bodies arrived in Prescott, returning home.

WHO THEY WERE: Fallen Arizona firefighters

Crowds are also expected to congregate outside Tim's Toyota Center, the Prescott municipal multi-purpose facility, for the memorial service that will be simulcast live Tuesday morning on several websites.

Yavapai Community College is also hosting a simulcast viewing at its performing arts facility, where up to 1,100 people can attend.

The 19 firefighters were members of the Prescott, Ariz.-based Granite Mountain Hotshots crew. On June 30, they were fighting the Yarnell Hill blaze in the small Arizona town of Yarnell when they were overrun by the fast-moving fire. Authorities said that all 19 died of fire-related injuries, which included thermal burns with carbon monoxide poisoning and a lack of oxygen.

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