Thousands Come To Prescott To Pay Respects To Firefighters
July 09, 2013
Nick Blumberg
Fire crews from across the country were represented at the memorial service for the Granite Mountain Hotshots on Tuesday in Prescott.

Thousands of people came to Prescott Valley on Tuesday to pay their respects to the 19 firefighters who died over a week ago battling the Yarnell Hill Fire.

Dignitaries included Vice President Joe Biden and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.

Prescott Fire Chief Dan Fraijo spoke to the crowd of families, friends and firefighters gathered.

"If I could fulfill my fondest wish, it would be for my tears to wash away the pain we all feel. You will be missed but you will never ever be forgotten," Fraijo said.

As each of the 19 names were read their families were presented with a bronzed ax, what firefighters call a Pulaski tool, the kind used by hotshot crews to cut containment lines around wildfires.

Flagstaff fire captain Bill Morse has been embedded with the Prescott department since the hotshot crew died on June 30. Morse said the Prescott Fire Department and families of the men who died have been attending vigils and memorial services and, after today, 19 funerals.

"They're going to be here for the long run," Morse said. "When this is over we're going to pack up and move they're still going to be here live with the loss of a quarter of their fire department."

Listen to the recording of the memorial service.