ASU Graduate, Ashe Native Perishes in Arizona Wildfire

Published Tuesday, July 2, 2013 at 4:20 pm
The final photo Arizona firefighter Andrew Ashcraft  of the Granite Mountain Hotshots texted his wife before dying in the Yarnell Hill fire. Photo courtesy of Granite Mountain Hotshots Facebook page.

The final photo Arizona firefighter Andrew Ashcraft of the Granite Mountain Hotshots texted his wife before dying in the Yarnell Hill fire. Photo courtesy of Granite Mountain Hotshots Facebook page.

By Jesse Wood

July 2, 2013. On Sunday, an ASU graduate and Ashe County native perished along with 18 other members of Granite Mountain Hotshots, an elite firefighting team, in a multiple-day wildfire that ignited on Friday near Prescott, Ariz., in the old mining village of Yarnell.

The Granite Mountain Hotshot crew. Photo courtesy of the Prescott Fire Department

The Granite Mountain Hotshots crew. Photo courtesy of the Prescott Fire Department

Eric Marsh, 43, a graduate of Ashe Central High School, was the superintendent of the Granite Mountain Hotshots and the oldest member of the interagency crew employed by the Prescott Fire Department.

Marsh was married with no children, according to the Jefferson Post. He studied biology at ASU and was involved in firefighting since his high school days in Ashe County.

“He was a great son,” John Marsh, the father of Eric, told the Ashe County newspaper. “He was compassionate and caring about his crew.”

The Granite Mountain Hotshots are trained to be mentally, physically tough and able to endure hardships such as “environmental extremes, long hours, bad food and steep, rugged terrain,” according to the agency’s website.

“Comforts such as beds, showers and hot meals are not always common. Problem solving, teamwork, ability to make decisions in a stressful environment and being nice are the attributes of our crewmembers.”

Mike Reichling of the Arizona Forestry Division, who was assisting incident commanders, noted the low humidity and said that winds changed direction on the hotshot crew and that each of the dead firefighters had deployed an emergency shelter, according to The Arizona Republic.

On Sunday, the fire spanned 2,000 acres but had grown to nearly 8,500 acres as of Monday afternoon. 

Names of the deceased firefighters:

  • Ashcraft, Andrew – Age: 29
  • Caldwell, Robert – Age: 23
  • Carter, Travis – Age: 31
  • Deford, Dustin – Age: 24
  • MacKenzie, Christopher – Age: 30
  • Marsh, Eric – Age: 43
  • McKee, Grant – Age: 21
  • Misner, Sean – Age: 26
  • Norris, Scott – Age: 28
  • Parker, Wade – Age: 22
  • Percin, John – Age: 24
  • Rose, Anthony – Age: 23
  • Steed, Jesse – Age: 36
  • Thurston, Joe – Age: 32
  • Turbyfill, Travis – Age: 27
  • Warneke, William – Age: 25
  • Whitted, Clayton – Age: 28
  • Woyjeck, Kevin – Age: 21
  • Zuppiger, Garret – Age: 27

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