Yarnell Hill Fire: Mother of Fallen Hotshot Seeking Millions for Son's Death
|Illustration by Kyle T. Webster|
The mother of one of the Granite Mountain Hotshots who died in the Yarnell Hill Fire is seeking millions of dollars from the City of Prescott, Yavapai County, and the state.
Marcia McKee, the mother of 21-year-old Grant McKee, filed a notice of claim against the three entities, which could precede the filing of a lawsuit.
-Special Report: Investigating the Deaths of 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots
The notice of claim demands $12 million from each of the three entities -- the city, county, and state -- but offers a settlement of $12 million total.
The claim from Scottsdale law firm Knapp & Roberts accuses the entities of various "negligent acts and omissions that caused of contributed to the death of Grant McKee and the 18 other members of Granite Mountain Interagency Hotshot Crew."
It points to violations of wildfire-safety guidelines, and the "almost useless" report on the fire that was released in September, three months after the 19 men died.
At this point, it is apparent that the liable public entities carelessly let the Granite Mountain Hot Shots move into a rugged, brush-filled area where escape from the oncoming fire was impossible. The liable public entities had lost track of the location and direction of movement of the Granite Mountain Hot Shots, had deployed them carelessly, had negligently failed to support them or to coordinate their movements with other assets in the area, had failed to maintain consistent, effective communication with them, had recklessly failed to realize the extreme peril that confronted them, had carelessly failed to provide them with one or more logical and accessible escape routes or areas of refuge, and had negligently failed to deploy aerial assets to assess their peril and drop fire retardant chemicals to help protect them.
The liable public entities carelessly and negligently let Grant McKee and his fellow crewmembers die excruciating deaths. With the use of modern technology and the application of old-fashioned common sense, the death of these fine men was entirely preventable.