Wildfire survivor won't second-guess 19 who died. Moments later he … Aug. 7, 2013 — -- Five weeks after the worst day of his young life, Brendan McDonough still hears the cell phones that were ringing in the back of his fire truck, the agonizing peal of loved ones desperate to reach his 19 missing buddies in the Granite Mountain Interagency Hotshot Crew fighting a raging wildfire on a scorched Arizona mountainside. The town has honored the Granite Mountain Hotshots with a unique tribute – a rugged hiking trail that climbs more than 1,000 feet up … The blond, rail-thin veteran of three fire seasons led ABC News through the crew's station, a place once a center of activity in fire season but now sorrowfully quiet and filled with U.S. flags signed by fire squads, commemorative wood carvings, postcards and letters of gratitude from many whose homes were saved by the Hotshots, as well as children's playful drawings saying "thank you." "...May the sun shine warm upon your face, the rains fall soft upon your fields...". He could see them clearly enough to identify individuals as he left and headed toward a nearby highway used as a command center for the fire response. Only the Brave is a 2017 American biographical drama film directed by Joseph Kosinski, and written by Ken Nolan and Eric Warren Singer, based on the GQ article "No Exit" by Sean Flynn. Granite Mountain]is a harrowing story of heroism in the face of natural disaster. This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged. The Granite Mountain Inter-agency Hotshots had been protecting the city with over $3.1 billion in assessed value, over 18,000 homes and 24,000 residents. I'd cried a lot. The two state investigations into the deaths of 19 members of the Granite Mountain Hotshots released to the public in 2013 did not include the complete autopsy and toxicology reports of the men who were killed on June 30, 2013 in the Yarnell Hill Fire. Why aren't they sitting here with me?'" On June 30, firefighters with the Prescott Fire Department's interagency Granite Mountain Hotshots were overrun and killed by the fire. The board is considering a request from Juliann Ashcraft, the widow of one of the Granite Mountain Hotshots who died last year, for full survivor and retirement benefits even though her … Wasn't a bad decision.". He was the only one to survive. Yet it also offers a timely reminder that stories are decisions, that … Where COVID-19 spreads most easily, according to experts, Congress passes 2nd COVID-19 relief bill, money before new year, Kushner pardon revives 'loathsome' tale of tax evasion, Congressional leaders await Trump's next move days ahead of a government shutdown, Man spent 36 years in prison for stealing $50 from a bakery, but now he's going free, BRIAN ROSS, JAMES GORDON MEEK and CINDY GALLI. And for some reason they left." The art of storytelling is treacherous, and the new film Only the Brave, released last Friday, is among the more noteworthy recent displays of the arts peculiarities and pitfalls. McDonough’s story of finding his way out of the dead end of drugs, finding his purpose among the Granite Mountain Hotshots, and the minute-by-minute account of the fateful day he lost the very brothers who had saved him. "I have no clue," says lone hotshot survivor Brendan McDonough. ", McDonough radioed back a brief reply to call if they needed anything and that he'd be with the buggies. The only firefighter of a 20-person Granite Mountain Hotshots who survived the Yarnell Hill Fire nearly three years ago says it’s been “a tough life to live.” Based on the true story of the Granite Mountain Hotshots, a group of elite firefighters who risk everything to protect a town from a historic wildfire. The firefighters had apparently deployed fire sheltersduring the ambush, but the heat of the wildfire soared over 2,000 °F (1,090 °C). Through hope, determination, sacrifice and the drive to protect families and communities, the Granite Mountain Hotshots become one of the most elite firefighting crews in the country. Additional portions will be broadcast tonight on "World News With Diane Sawyer" and "Nightline". A harrowing tale of resilience in the face of tragedy, My Lost Brothers is a powerful reminder of the heroism of the people who put themselves in harm’s way to protect us. "I asked a million times, 'Why am I sitting here and why isn't someone else? Nineteen firefighters from the Granite Mountain Hotshots lost their lives in the 2013 wildfire in Yarnell, Ariz. Brendan McDonough is the crew’s sole survivor. Asked if he did all he could have, he insisted, "There's nothing I could've done besides have been up on the hill with them and someone else been in my position, to have been with them and died in my boots with them. talking about this. The two state investigations into the deaths of 19 members of the Granite Mountain Hotshots released to the public in 2013 did not include the complete autopsy and toxicology reports of the men who were killed on June 30, 2013 in the Yarnell Hill Fire. Survivor: McDonough walks back to his seat after speaking at a memorial service for the fallen members of the Granite Mountain Hotshots on July, a week after the tragedy wiped out his team What led to the deaths of the experienced team of firefighters remains under official investigation by Arizona, whose deputy state forester Jerry Payne caused an uproar last week by publicly blaming the crew's slain leader Eric Marsh for violating firefighting rules. Yes. is the lone survivor of the Yarnell Hill fire tragedy of 2013. They were nature conservationists, athletes and above all, firefighters. McDonough picked a spot almost a mile down the hill, where he could see both the fire and the other Hotshots. Nineteen of the 20 members of the Granite Mountain Hotshots, an elite crew trained to fight wilderness fires, died on June 30, 2013, as they battled a fierce fire outside the old gold-mining village of Yarnell, Arizona. "They said, 'If you need to get out of there, go ahead and get out of there... we want you to be safe too,' you know? "This is where, you know, the best memories of my life will be.". All 19 of his brother Hotshots had just been killed by the ripping Yarnell Hill blaze in the largest loss of life among firefighters since the 9/11 attacks. I was the only person they're going to see," McDonough said. "...Until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His hand.". A rescue pilot described it as a "panic call" and it prompted Air Attack, the state command overseeing the fire, to bark, "Whoever is yelling on the radio, get off the air.". The Granite Mountain Hotshots were a 20-man wildland firefighting crew based out of Prescott, Arizona, 30 miles from Yarnell. Here are glimpses of the men they were and what they leave behind. McDonough said he joined the Hotshots after some trouble with the law and credits the experience with helping him overcome his troubled teenage years. "...May the wind be always at your back...". Brendan McDonough, 21, is the lone survivor of the 20-man team that went into the Yarnell Hill Fire as it spread throughout central Arizona. Were the Granite Mountain Hotshots really made up of former municipal firefighters who trained to earn elite status? The wildfire killed 18 of 20 members of the Granite Mountain Hotshot Crew. He lives in Prescott, Arizona. He has attended every funeral and visited each of the Nineteen's families. No one. 24/7 coverage of breaking news and live events. While most people run from danger, they run toward it — watching over lives, homes and everything people hold dear, forging a unique brotherhood that comes into focus with one fateful fire in Yarnell, Ariz. Brendan is part of The Greater Talent Network Speakers Bureau. Just -- a typical day, going direct on a fire," he told ABC News. Four years ago, the Granite Mountain Hotshots died battling a horrifying wildfire in Yarnell. The lone survivor from the 20-man crew was 21-year-old Brendan McDonough. We've got to get them out of here.”The Helms never saw the Granite Mountain Hotshots on the day they died and never knew the crew was working nearby. Nineteen firefighters from the Granite Mountain Hotshots lost their lives in the 2013 wildfire in Yarnell, Ariz. Brendan McDonough is the crew’s sole survivor. I'm kind of numb at that point. The Granite Mountain Hotshots was the only hotshot crew in the country that was part of a structural fire department, in this case, the Prescott Fire Department. ", Tarr radioed in his awful discovery, "I have 19 confirmed fatalities. The 19th dead firefighter was from another group. A harrowing and redemptive tale of resilience in the face of tragedy, My Lost Brothers is also a powerful reminder of the heroism of the people who put themselves in harm’s way to protect us every day. McDonough was the only survivor of Sunday's disaster. About the Granite Mountain Interagency Hotshot Crew Learning and Tribute Center. McDonough found keys to the gear room, where metal shelves remained stacked with battered black helmets, piles of unused roughout gloves, yellow protective suits, shiny new chainsaws and pristine pick axes awaiting 19 young heroes who will never need them again. McDonough said. Photos of the 19 fallen Granite Mountain Hotshot firefighters and Brendan McDonough, the lone survivor, in Prescott, Ariz., in (Julie Jacobson . He is haunted by the last words of his boss. On the morning of June 30, all 20 members of Prescott, Arizona's Granite Mountain Hotshots headed into the mountains to protect the small town of Yarnell from an advancing blaze. The men gave their lives to protect Yarnell. But by then the 21-year-old elite wildland firefighter -- whom his fellow Hotshots affectionately called "Donut" in a play on his last name -- knew the horrible truth that their own families did not yet know, as he sat in the seat absorbing the magnitude of what was happening. McDonough was the only survivor of Sunday's disaster. The Granite Mountain Hotshots formed in 2002 as a group within the Prescott Volunteer Fire Department. Days later, he had a tattoo artist ink the stanzas of an old Gaelic prayer inside his right bicep as a constant reminder of his hope that the fallen "Nineteen," as they're now known in Prescott, have found peace. "Jesse Steed, my captain, said, 'All right, I'll see you soon.' Would she grow up to view her dad as a coward? The crew had 11 kids among them, including McDonough's own two-year-old daughter, and three not yet born who lost dads they'll never meet. He went from drugs and jail, to joining The Granite Mountain Hotshots, a new beginning that saved him for a time. Today he is a public speaker and works with numerous nonprofits for veterans, police officers, firefighters, and emergency medical services. At 4:47, it was reported over the radio that McDonough's crewmates had been forced to deploy their individual fire shelters -- a last ditch step. Brendan is part of The Greater Talent Network Speakers Bureau. The wildfire killed 18 of 20 members of the Granite Mountain Hotshot Crew. A harrowing tale of resilience in the face of tragedy. And I came to a point where I just didn't have any more tears.". Building a sense of brotherhood within communities gives McDonough great joy – because it helps this fighter honor the legacy of his 19 lost, but not forgotten, brothers. Turn on desktop notifications for breaking stories about interest? "It's tough," McDonough said, as he sat near a rack of sharpened chains for their saws in the ready room left just as it was the morning of the fire, when the 20 Hotshots had their last briefing. They were nature conservationists, athletes and above all, firefighters. To learn more about organizations helping the families of the 19 fallen firefighters, visit Prescott Firefighters Charities and The Wildland Firefighter Foundation. Every one of the Granite Mountain Hotshots, except for McDonough, was burned alive sometime after 4:30 p.m. on June 30, when the Yarnell Hill … Sole survivor of Granite Mountain Hotshots speaks at memorial But he knows his friends' pain has been released. And then came very bad news that smoke-choked afternoon. On June 30, firefighters with the Prescott Fire Department's interagency called the Granite Mountain Hotshots were overrun and killed by the fire. "I can't fail them. Covered in soot over his bright yellow protective clothing and heavy boots as darkness fell on June 30, waves of guilt for being the only Hotshot spared death was a gut punch made all the more painful by the chirping phones behind him in the buggy. But his fallen brothers were the reason he was alive that day at all. "I walked into the shelter deployment site and determined that the voices I had heard were coming from still functioning radios. McDonough said he asked himself. 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