Wednesday, July 30, 2014         

 Print   Email   Comment | View 5 Comments   Most Popular   Save   Post   Retweet

Texted photo shows Hotshot crew before they died

By Julie Jacobson

Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 05:44 a.m. HST, Jul 03, 2013

YARNELL, Ariz. » It may be the last image of members of an Arizona fire crew before they died, overcome by flames.

The photo shows smoke billowing in the distance and firefighters covered in soot as they took a break and watched their target on the horizon.

At the time, its significance was small, part of a text exchange between a man and his wife.

"This is my lunch spot ... too bad lunch was an MRE," read the text message from Andrew Ashcraft to his wife, Juliann. It was a "meal ready to eat," carried along on trips by Hotshot crews.

Later that day, the 19 firefighters deployed their emergency shelters, a last-ditch effort to save their lives. It wasn't enough. All of them died in the raging wildfire.

The Hotshot crews are the best of the best, filled with adventure-seekers whose hard training prepares them for the worst.

Ashcraft was honored to be a member of the Hotshot crew, friends said, but he lived for his four kids and his wife.

He'd bring them to the gym where many of the crew worked out, said Janine Pereira, a trainer at Captain Crossfit.

"He'd carry her around sometimes and give her a kiss in front of all his guys," she said.

Now a plaque bears his name — and 18 others who left behind wives, children, friends — outside the crew's fire station.

 Print   Email   Comment | View 5 Comments   Most Popular   Save   Post   Retweet

You must be subscribed to participate in discussions
By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the TERMS OF SERVICE. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. Because only subscribers are allowed to comment, we have your personal information and are able to contact you. If your comments are inappropriate, you may receive a warning, and if you persist with such comments you may be banned from posting. To report comments that you believe do not follow our guidelines, email commentfeedback@staradvertiser.com.
Leave a comment

Please login to leave a comment.
copperwire9 wrote:
Breaking hearts...
on July 2,2013 | 11:26PM
peanutgallery wrote:
Very sad story. Heart and prayers go out to the families.
on July 3,2013 | 03:20AM
sayer wrote:
This is so, so sad for these families. At least they will have a loving memory of their loved ones knowing they died heroes.
on July 3,2013 | 07:20AM
Mei mei wrote:
So very sad and prayers & blessings go out to the suriving family & friends - they are all Angels now **
on July 3,2013 | 10:40AM
ello wrote:
so sad.
on July 3,2013 | 01:23PM
Breaking News