Yarnell residents may not return home until Monday - New York News

Yarnell residents may not return home until Monday

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YARNELL, Ariz. -

About 700 people who have been evacuated from the community of Yarnell since Sunday will have to wait a little longer to return home.

Fire officials hoped they may be allowed home Saturday, but that has been delayed until at least Sunday and possibly Monday evening. The announcement was made at a community meeting in Wickenburg Friday.

Fire information officer Jim Whittington said Friday there are three reasons for the delay. Crews need to make sure 129 destroyed structures won't start another fire and they need to fix power lines and poles and check every propane tank.

Townspeople were warned about scammers and shady contractors who might descend on the town once they get back. The message: keep a sharp eye out for rip-offs.

Arizona Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake met with the families of the fallen firefighters later Friday, and promised residents of Yarnell they'd do whatever they could.

"Politicians not very often are at a loss for words. It's hard to express the sorrow that we feel and all Arizonans feel," said McCain.

Both senators say they will lobby the White House to declare a state of emergency. That will free up funds for people who lost their homes and the families of those 19 firefighters.

"With all the concerns these families will have, financially and everything over the long term, what they're concerned about now is how do we raise our kids without a dad. And that's the tough part," said Flake.

At lot of infrastructure work has to be done until residents will be allowed back into their homes.

"The loss of friends that won't come back and beauty that will not return, but mostly sad for our friends and neighbors who lost everything and first and foremost the firefighters who gave it all for us," said Yarnell resident Marsha Lohr.

"We are afraid that things have changed and we know people who do not want to go back. We do not want to lose our community," said Craig Lohr.

"I can't wait to get home. But I don't want to see the burned out areas. It's going to be really sad," said Jennifer Harris, resident of Peeples Valley.

"The sheriff's department has informed us that our structure is still there," said Dianne Stitt. "So that's a good sign."

John Mizzacca's home barely escaped the flames.

"My property is ok. Basically the fire burned within a block of my place."

The fire that broke out a week ago killed 19 firefighters on Sunday. It is 90% contained after burning across more than 13 square miles of rugged wildland.

People from Yarnell told us they are very grateful for the work of all the utility companies, managers, and public officials. But first and foremost they are thankful for the heroic work of firefighters.

Residents of the nearby community of Peeples Valley returned home on Thursday.

Escort of fallen firefighters
Sunday, July 7, 11:15 a.m.
Vantage point at Wesley Bolin Memorial Plaza
1700 W. Washington Street
Phoenix, AZ
- 15th Ave. will be closed between Adams and Madison streets
- Washington Street will be closed between 7th and 15th avenues
- Jefferson Street will be closed between 7th and 15th avenues
Memorial service for the fallen firefighters
Tuesday, July 9, 11 a.m.
Tim's Toyota Center
3201 N Main St
Prescott Valley, AZ 86314

For more on wildfires in Arizona, go to myfoxphoenix.com/wildfires.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press modified.

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