PHOENIX — The family of a firefighter killed with 18 colleagues while battling a summer wildfire is waging a campaign urging the city of Prescott, Ariz., to provide his survivors with full health and pension benefits.
The city, which employed Andrew Ashcraft and other members of the Granite Mountain Hotshots, says Ashcraft and 12 others who died were seasonal employees, leaving their survivors ineligible for benefits that would go to a full-time employee.
"I want to be able to just be mourning my husband, be supporting my children, be figuring out what our new normal is," Juliann Ashcraft, Andrew's widow and mother of their four children, said at a news conference Wednesday outside the Yavapai County courthouse in Prescott.
"As shocked as I was that my husband went to work and never came home, I'm equally shocked in how the city has treated our family since then,'' she said.
Nineteen members of the Granite Mountain Hotshots died June 30 when their position was overrun by the Yarnell Hill Fire, which they were working to contain. Only one member of the hotshot team, a lookout positioned elsewhere on a ridge.