PRESCOTT, Ariz. — Some hard feelings and hard choices still linger almost 11 months after the tragedy at Yarnell Hill. We recently spoke with the former fire chief about the 19 men they lost and the fallout from that tragic day.
“We’re devastated,” Chief Dan Fraijo said at a hastily called press conference on June 30. “We just lost 19 of the finest people you’ll ever meet.”
This was the first time most people in Arizona had ever seen Fraijo. He had been asked to come out of retirement to lead the Prescott Fire Department. But after the deaths of 19 of the men in his department, he became the face of a national news event. “Boy, I tell you, in my career I buried five firefighters,” Fraijo said recently. “The magnitude of 19 is basically overwhelming. You almost have to disconnect to think.”