Local first responders attend memorial in Arizona for fallen firefighters
19 men died June 30 during the Yarnell Hills Fire
Last Updated: 156 days ago
SAN DIEGO - Thousands gathered in Prescott, Ariz., to honor the 19 elite firefighters killed during the Yarnell Hills Fire, including first responders from San Diego.
The firefighters from the Granite Mountain Hotshot crew died June 30 -- the largest loss of U.S. firefighters since the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
Local law enforcement and firefighters also travelled to Arizona, volunteering their time to pay their respects to the fallen heroes.
San Diego Fire Rescue Department spokesperson Maurice Luque said eight members of the department travelled to Arizona, including one assistant fire chief.
Four officers from San Diego Police Department's honor guard, as well as two officers from the La Mesa Police Department and two from the San Diego County Sheriff's Department were also in Arizona for the event.
10News spoke with SDPD Officer and honor guard member Geoff DeCesari right before he walked into the memorial.
"You can see about six blocks down and it's lined in rows of two of all different hotshot vehicles," DeCesari said. "Until you start reading in the program that they handed out to everybody -- they gave us the bios of each one of the firefighters ... they were all young. Several of them have young children. Until you put the face to the tragedy, it's hard to describe."
Vice President Joe Biden was among the dignitaries who spoke at the memorial Tuesday morning. Biden said there are 108 hotshot crews in the United States.
"These men were some of the strongest, most disciplined, tenacious, physically fit men in the world. An elite unit in every since of that phrase," Biden said.
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