- Associated Press - Thursday, June 12, 2014

PRESCOTT, Ariz. (AP) - Construction began Wednesday on a cemetery memorial for 19 firefighters killed in a northern Arizona wildfire last year.

Each firefighter will have a plot and a bronze grave marker at the state-owned Pioneers Home Cemetery in Prescott, the Daily Courier reported (https://bit.ly/1poljKi ).

The plans include each marker being etched with images taken from family photos representing the firefighter. The plots are surrounded by a 2-foot wall where mourners can sit.

Ten of the Granite Mountain Hotshot firefighters are already buried there, officials said.

They say there is room for family members to be buried alongside them.

The layout and design of the memorial had been a point of heated dispute between representatives of the cemetery and firefighter support groups. Ted Ihrman, superintendent at Pioneers Home, requested workers halt construction last week because they weren’t following the agreed upon design. Workers and firefighters showed up Tuesday and Ihrman called police.

Prescott Fire Capt. JP Vicente said firefighters were trying to get the design the Hotshots’ families wanted but that Ihrman had rejected.

The two sides met Wednesday and agreed to move the wall a foot to make room for more loved ones who want to laid to rest there near fathers or sons.

“We had a disagreement, and at the end we agreed to do the right thing,” Vicente said.

The state designated a new section of the cemetery for the hotshots and charged $100 per gravesite, instead of the usual $900. Numerous businesses donated services and supplies including the granite for a monument and gravestones.

All but one of the 20 Hotshots on the Prescott-based crew perished in the Yarnell Hill Fire on June 30, 2013. The memorial is expected to be completed before the one-year anniversary.

Danny Parker, a retired firefighter whose son Wade was killed, said he and his wife want to be buried next to him. Firefighters for years to come would watch over the site.

“The fire service will not forget,” Parker said.

Gov. Jan Brewer signed a bill in April that would create a memorial at the site of the fire.


Information from: The Daily Courier, https://www.dcourier.com

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