Heroes remembered during procession through Prescott Valley - New York News

Heroes remembered during procession through Prescott Valley

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PRESCOTT VALLEY, Ariz. -

It was this time a week ago Sunday night that FOX 10 reported the tragic news of the loss of 19 hotshots who were killed while battling the Yarnell Hill Fire.

Those 19 heroes made the journey home Sunday, traveling in a somber procession from the Phoenix medical examiner's office to the medical examiner's office in Prescott Valley.

"The hearses just kept coming and coming," said Alfred Quintana, a retired Phoenix firefighter.

"I don't have a word to describe the grief and the honor displayed right now," said Valerie Spata, who was paying her respects.

19 white hearses, carrying each of the 19 fallen firefighters, were greeted by thousands who lined the last leg of the escort route.

Residents were clapping, saluting and crying as the hearses finished a 100-mile journey to Prescott Valley around 5 p.m. Sunday.

"I don't think there are words to describe that feeling," said Gloria Meyer, of Prescott. "Just the amount of people, the amount of support for the families."

The 19 white hearses with the firefighters' remains were brought to the Yavapai County Fairgrounds in Prescott Valley, where the medical examiner's office is.

That's where the remains will stay until the memorial Tuesday.

Quintana, a retired Phoenix firefighter, came to pay his respects.

His children are Phoenix firefighters.

"It was very close to home. All those firefighters that died are the same age as my daughter and son still on the fire department," aid Quintana.

DC-3 dropped two sets of 19 purple streamers with the fallen firefighters names stenciled on them.

The 19 members of the Granite Mountain Hotshots died a week ago after being overtaken by the Yarnell Hill Fire they were battling, 30 miles southwest of Prescott.

"The guys were all so young and had families. It was very hard to take," said Quintana.

Spata didn't know the firefighters, but felt compelled to bring her young daughter to pay their respects.

The 19 firefighters leave behind 11 children, 10 widows and three fiances; some were expecting children.

"[My daughter's] saluting 19 angels, is what she said," said Spata.

The memorial service starts at 11 a.m. on Tuesday and will be broadcast on FOX 10 and myfoxphoenix.com.

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