Five Years Later: Remembering the 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots

June 30 2018 

The IAFF is remembering the 19 Prescott, Arizona, fire fighters who died in the line of duty June 30, 2013, when they were overcome by a fast-moving wildfire near Yarnell Hill. R​obert Caldwell, Travis Carter, Eric Marsh, Jesse Steed, Travis Turbyfill, Clayton Whitted, Andrew Ashcraft, Dustin DeFord, Christopher MacKenzie, Grant McKee, Sean Misner, Scott Norris, Wade Parker, John Percin Jr., Anthony Rose, Joe Thurston, William Warneke, Kevin Woyjeck and Garret Zuppiger were working to contain the fire when the fast-moving blaze overtook their position. Brendan McDonough  was the lone survivor as he was on lookout duty in a separate location.

The loss was the greatest loss of fire fighter life in a single incident since September 11.

“As we mark this  anniversary, our thoughts and prayers are with the friends and family of the fallen,” says General President Harold Schaitberger. “We will never forget their sacrifice and we honor them by continuing to look for ways to keep all fire fighters safe on the job.”

This year, the Granite Mountain Interagency Hotshot Crew Learning and Tribute Center opened on June 29 at the Prescott Gateway Mall. The center, organized by family members of the fallen and others, will serve as a lasting memorial to the 19 and as an educational opportunity to teach the public about the dangers and challenges of wildland fire fighting. 

Long Beach Local 372 Member Shot During Early Morning Fire Call

A Celebration of Life will be held on Tuesday, July 3, 2018, at 10:00 a.m. at the Long Beach Convention Center, 300 E. Ocean Blvd., Long Beach, CA 90802.

Send expressions of sympathy or condolences for the family to: IAFF Local 372, 2201 Cherry Avenue, Suite 300, Signal Hill, CA 90755-3783.

IAFF leaders and peer support teams are meeting with grieving family members and stunned union brothers and sisters one day after Long Beach, CA Local 372 member Dave Rosa was shot and killed June 25 while responding to an emergency call of an explosion at an apartment building. Another fire fighter, 35-year-old Ernesto Torres, a 10-year veteran and member of Local 372, was wounded in the incident but has been released from the hospital.

IAFF 10th District Vice President Frank Lima and IAFF Western Trustee Tony Mejia have met with the family of Captain Rosa, 45, a 17-year veteran of the Long Beach Fire Department and Local 372. Long Beach Local 372 President Rex Prichard says peer support teams from Los Angeles County Local 1014 and Los Angeles City Local 112 also arrived at Local 372 headquarters to offer support and counsel to IAFF members and families struggling to understand the tragedy.

“We have occasionally had civilians pull [guns] on us in the past, but this the first time one of our fire fighters has been shot and killed while responding to an emergency call,” Pritchard says, noting that he was unable to offer much more detail on the incident as a criminal investigation is underway.

General President Harold Schaitberger reached out to Pritchard immediately after hearing of the incident to offer any assistance needed. Funeral arrangements are underway and an IAFF Medal of Honor is being prepared for Captain Rosa’s service.

“We are so thankful, but unfortunately this is what the IAFF does so well,” Pritchard says of the International’s swift and thorough response.

The shooting occurred at about 4:00 a.m. Monday morning, June 25, after fire fighters responded to reports that residents of a Long Beach senior living facility smelled gas. The single alarm response team arrived on scene to find windows blown out on one of the upper floors and water sprinklers activated.

Minutes after fire fighters knocked down the fire on the 11th floor, they received reports of gun fire.

A 77-year-old suspect, identified as Thomas Kim, was arrested and booked for murder, two counts of attempted murder and arson. According to police, Kim was a resident of the senior housing facility. Police also found two suspicious devices that were rendered safe by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department bomb squad.

Although a suspect is in custody, Long Beach Police Chief Robert Luna says investigators still have many unanswered questions about the incident.

Captain Rosa leaves behind a wife and two sons, ages 16 and 25.