YARNELL, Ariz. (KTLA) — Five of the 19 firefighters who died Sunday battling a central Arizona fire had ties to California.
Sean Misner, 26, graduated from Santa Ynez Valley Union High School in Santa Barbara County in 2005, the Associated Press reported.
Orange County native Grant McKee, 21, attended Newport Harbor High School, his neighbor said. McKee’s mother told the AP that McKee was training to be an emergency medical technician.
“Grant was one of the most likable people you could ever meet,” Laurie McKee said.
Kevin Woyjeck, 21, was the son of a Los Angeles Fire Department captain. “I … have some solace in knowing that Kevin was doing what he what he truly enjoyed, and that is being a firefighter and helping others,” L.A. County fire Chief Daryl Cosby said Monday.
Billy Warneke, 25, of Hemet, was a Marine Corps veteran who served in Iraq and got his firefighter training on the G.I. Bill.
The job in Arizona was his first assignment, his grandfather, Jack Warneke, told KTLA.
Chris MacKenzie, 30, a 2001 graduate of Hemet High School, was the son of a former Moreno Valley CDF captain, according to the Press Enterprise.
The five men and 14 of their fellow elite firefighters, members of the Prescott Fire Department’s Granite County Hotshots, were killed while battling a fast-moving brush fire that has burned more than 6,000 acres and destroyed at least 250 structures.
“This is as dark a day as I can remember,” Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer said in a statement on Monday.
“It may be days or longer before an investigation reveals how this tragedy occurred, but the essence we already know in our hearts: fighting fires is dangerous work. The risk is well-known to the brave men and women who don their gear and do battle against forest and flame.
“When a tragedy like this strikes, all we can do is offer our eternal gratitude to the fallen, and prayers for the families and friends left behind. God bless them all.”
How you can help:
The United Phoenix Fire Fighters Association, together with Prescott Fire Fighter’s Charities, have established a 501(c)3 relief fund to benefit the families of the fallen killed in the Yarnell Fire. 100% of your tax-deductible donation will go to the families. You can donate at any Chase Bank, in the name of the United Phoenix Fire Fighters Association Account, #987218757.