The City of Prescott has rejected the claims filed by the mother of one of the 19 firefighters that were killed, as well as those filed by 21 residents whose homes burned during the Yarnell Hill Fire on June 30 in Arizona. According to the Prescott Daily Courier, the claims, which cited negligence in management of the fire, amounted to $48 million for the death of firefighter Grant McKee and nearly $100 million for the property damage.
The newspaper also reported that the Arizona State Forestry Division is contesting citations and $559,000 worth of fines issued to them by another state agency, the Arizona Division of Occupational Safety and Health. The Forestry Division said in their letter to the state OSHA agency that the citations and fines “are not supported by substantial evidence, are contrary to law, arbitrary, capricious and constitute an abuse of discretion by the Industrial Commission of Arizona.” The next step may be a review by the Industrial Commission’s Hearing Division, which originally approved the fines and citations recommended by the state OSHA. The fines included $25,000 allotted for the survivors of each firefighter, a total of $475,000.
In a related story by the Daily Courier, more claims have been filed:
PRESCOTT – The families of 12 of the fallen Granite Mountain Hotshots filed wrongful death claims today, seeking a total of more than $200 million from four public entities.
The notices of claim are going to the State of Arizona (including the Arizona State Forestry Division), Yavapai County, the City of Prescott, and the Central Yavapai Fire District (CYFD), and are claiming “intentional, reckless, careless and grossly negligent conduct” during firefighting efforts on the June 30 Yarnell Hill wildfire.