OC Firefighters Leave for Arizona Firefighters Memorial

The firefighters will participate in a memorial for 19 firefighters killed June 30 northwest of Phoenix

About 60 members of the Orange County Fire Authority boarded a bus Monday morning bound for a memorial to honor 19 Arizona firefighters killed when they were overcome by a wildfire northwest of Phoenix.

The memorial for the 19 members of the Granite Mountain Hotshots crew is scheduled for Tuesday. The men, including several with Southern California connections, were killed June 30 as they fought the wind-whipped Yarnell Hills wildfire.

Members of the Orange County Fire Authority Pipes and Drums and Honor Guard are part of the Southern California group traveling to Arizona.

"It's not even just the local aspect, but the fact it's fellow firefighters," said OC Fire Authority Battalion Chief Greg McKeown. "It's unthinkable."

The victims were identified as Anthony Rose, 23; Eric Marsh, 43; Robert Caldwell, 23; Clayton Whitted , 28; Scott Norris, 28; Dustin Deford, 24; Sean Misner, 26; Garret Zuppiger, 27; Travis Carter, 31; Grant McKee, 21; Travis Turbyfill, 27; Jesse Steed, 36; Wade Parker, 22; Joe Thurston, 32; William Warneke, 25; and John Percin, 24; Kevin Woyjeck, 21; Chris MacKenzie, 30; and Andrew Ashcraft, 29.

A 20th member of the Hot Shots crew was serving as a lookout when the lightning-sparked fire overtook his colleagues.

Woyjeck is the son of Los Angeles County Fire Capt. Joe Woyjeck. Woyjeck started out as a Fire Explorer, a training mentorship program, and worked as an emergency medical technician.

MacKenzie graduated Hemet High School in 2001 and joined the U.S. Forest Service.

Warneke, also a Hemet High School grad, is survived by his wife, his high school sweetheart who is expecting their first child in December, his grandparents said.

McKee grew up in Costa Mesa. Misner, from Santa Barbara County, also is survived by his wife, who is pregnant.

"We are honored and humbled to be able to make this trip," said Orange County Fire Authority Division Chief Kris Concepcion.

The bodies were transported in a procession Sunday to Prescott, Ariz. in white hearses as crowds of mourners lined streets. The processional left the Maricopa County Medical Examiner's office in Phoenix and traveled through the Prescott Valley, near the Yarnell Hills wildfire area.

Fire trucks and other vehicles also lined the route as the hearses traveled through the community the firefighters were attempting to protect.

The wildfire burned more than 13-square miles and marked the deadliest wildland fire since 25 firefighters were killed as they fought the 1933 Griffith Park fire. 

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