Bodies of hotshot victims arrive in Prescott Valley - Tucson News Now

Bodies of hotshot victims arrive in Prescott Valley

U.S. Highway 89-A was unrecognizable as a highway, looking more like a parking lot with families lined up and down the sides, all waiting for the homecoming of 19 fallen heroes. (Source: CBS 5 News) U.S. Highway 89-A was unrecognizable as a highway, looking more like a parking lot with families lined up and down the sides, all waiting for the homecoming of 19 fallen heroes. (Source: CBS 5 News)
PRESCOTT VALLEY, AZ (CBS5) -

It took four and a half hours for the 19 hearses to reach the Yavapai County Fairgrounds.

U.S. Highway 89A was unrecognizable as a highway, looking more like a parking lot with families lined up and down the sides, all waiting for the homecoming of 19 fallen heroes.

Longtime Prescott resident Alex Stritmatter came with her son and a friend, Prescott Valley Vice Mayor Lora Lee Nye.

Stritmatter was not at all astonished by the people who came out in droves.

"You don't want a crisis to happen, but when it does, you want to know that people have your back," she said.

It took hours, but it all came down to the moment when the caravan of 19 hearses carrying the bodies of the Granite Mountain Hotshots who died in the Yarnell Hill Fire on June 30 arrived.

The names of the Hotshot inside each Hearse was posted in the window.

"Jesse Steed, Clayton Whitted," read Stritmatter as they passed by.

Flags waved, hands placed on hearts and tears fell. Respects were paid as the caravan made its way to the fairgrounds.

"I've never been speechless in my life," Stritmatter said.

A DC-3 air tanker dropped 19 purple streamers to honor each life lost when the hearses arrived.

"Instead of a story in the paper and an image on the television screen, this is the reality," Nye said. 

Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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