Prescott Fire Station memorial continues to grow

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - A monster wildfire has killed 19 firefighters in central Arizona.

It's the nation's largest loss of firefighters in a wildfire in 80 years.

On Sunday, the 19 firefighters died in the town of Yarnell after the flames wiped out the crew.
They took cover on the ground under heat-resistant fabric, but the fire was too powerful.

All the victims were members of an elite firefighting crew, known as Hotshots.

The 20-member team spent recent weeks in New Mexico before they were called to Arizona. Only one member survived.

Hundreds of fire fighters are currently still risking their lives battling the Yarnell Hill Fire.

So far, this blaze has burned more than 8,400 acres and destroyed hundreds of homes.

It was sparked by lightning on Friday.

The memorial at the Prescott Fire Station Number 7 continues to grow.

It's the home station of the Granite Mountain Hotshots.

Several people who either knew one of the firefighters or knows somebody who did say this is a place they can go to start the healing process.

"Still don't believe he's gone. Don't believe any of them are gone. It's surreal."

Emotions are running high as the community remembers the 19 firefighters who lost their lives in the Yernell Fire.

From flowers and balloons to messages saying: "We love our firefighters, rest in peace."

Kim Burnal and Janelle Hovey were two mourners. They were close friends with 30-year-old Christopher McKanzie.

"He was about fires, it's all he talked about and for him to go.  It was his life. It was his whole life, fighting fires.  It's what he did."

Just a few miles away, the American Red Cross offers shelter to the residents who were evacuated from the Yarnell Hills Fire.

Sonny Gilligan is one of them. He was one of many who his lost his home.

"I don't really know what I'm going to do at this point," Gilligan said. "We want to go back. We want to learn if we can get back in or when, or what they are going to do about that."

And right around the corner, Animal District Service is a shelter for evacuees to take their animals.
In just one day, the shelters filled up with dogs, cats, birds and rabbits.

As the night goes on, the memorial continues to grow. It's a place for mourners to go and to bring the community together.

"Everybody is in shock, you know. I mean, people talk about it, they cry, they hug. We are just a community in total shock," said Carrie and Bob Brandon, Prescott residents. "Hard to understand, but the best thing they can do is take it one day at a time and do whatever they can to help out the victims of this tragedy."

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