Widow Reveals Texts From Doomed Firefighter - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Widow Reveals Texts From Doomed Firefighter

Posted: Updated:
Juliann Ashcraft Juliann Ashcraft
Andrew Ashcraft, 29, was dad to four kids. Andrew Ashcraft, 29, was dad to four kids.

NBCNEWS.COM - Holding back tears, Juliann Ashcraft described text messages and photos she and her husband exchanged just before he died. Nineteen men, members of an elite "Hotshot" team, died Sunday battling the out-of-control wildfire Sunday outside Yarnell, Ariz.

Her husband, Andrew, 29, was a former "rookie of the year" on the team and the father of four children, all younger than the age of 6.

While her husband was on a break during the early stages of battling a massive fire on Sunday, Ashcraft said she texted pictures of their kids swimming. He sent back a picture of the fire, which he described as "wild," that would ultimately claim his life.

"He sent a photo of where he was sitting and what the fire looked like for them, at their lunch spot," Ashcraft said on TODAY Tuesday. "It still did not look as catastrophic as it turned out to be, but it was interesting to have that perspective, to know what life was like for him on the fire lines and know what he risked day in and day out."

She responded by asking whether he and his crew would be sleeping in the field that night."Of course, there was no reply," she said. "They all laid out there that night."

Officials have called the fire the worst wildland tragedy in 80 years. Do you or a loved one work for a Hotshot crew? Click here to share your story The elite team, Ashcraft said, were like a family. "They were heroes in our home, they were heroes in our community," she said. "They were heroes to the people that they helped there. Our kids will remember them as heroes as well."

"It was everything to him. Outside of the love he shared for his family members, hotshot firefighting was his life," his wife said. "He had his priorities in line, but when he was there, he would tell me, ‘They say jump and I'd say, how high.'

Their main goal was to save lives. "They loved what they did. These men worked together," she said. "They lived together, they fought fires together, and they died together doing what they loved."

  • Top Stories from KHQTop StoriesMore>>

  • Kitchen Fire Causes $20,000 In Damage At WSU Student's Living Quarters

    Kitchen Fire Causes $20,000 In Damage At WSU Student's Living Quarters

    Thursday, April 24 2014 1:45 PM EDT2014-04-24 17:45:21 GMT
    PULLMAN, Wash. - Six Washington State University students had to seek other living accommodations early Thursday morning after a fire broke out in the kitchen of a two story structure on College Hill.Pullman firefighters were called to 425 Campus St. just before midnight for a report of fire and smoke coming from the building.More >>
    PULLMAN, Wash. - Six Washington State University students had to seek other living accommodations early Thursday morning after a fire broke out in the kitchen of a two story structure on College Hill.Pullman firefighters were called to 425 Campus St. just before midnight for a report of fire and smoke coming from the building.
    More >>
  • Bouncer Shot In Leg At Lion's Lair Bar, Police Looking For Suspects

    Bouncer Shot In Leg At Lion's Lair Bar, Police Looking For Suspects

    Thursday, April 24 2014 12:26 PM EDT2014-04-24 16:26:58 GMT
    SPOKANE, Wash. - A 44-year-old man is recovering after he was shot in the leg near Brown and Riverside in Spokane earlier Thursday morning at the Lion's Lair Bar. The victim was actually a bouncer at the Lion's Lair and the shooting followed an altercation inside the bar. Police are currently looking for two suspects who fled the scene.More >>
    SPOKANE, Wash. - A 44-year-old man is recovering after he was shot in the leg near Brown and Riverside in Spokane earlier Thursday morning at the Lion's Lair Bar. The victim was actually a bouncer at the Lion's Lair and the shooting followed an altercation inside the bar. Police are currently looking for two suspects who fled the scene.
    More >>
  • Structure Fire At Two Story Commercial Building In Coeur d'Alene

    Structure Fire At Two Story Commercial Building In Coeur d'Alene

    Thursday, April 24 2014 12:26 PM EDT2014-04-24 16:26:40 GMT
    COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho. - The Coeur d'Alene Fire Department responded to a structure fire just after 6am Thursday morning at a two-story commercial building in the 1400 block of N. Lincoln Way at Linden. When they arrived at the office building they could see smoke coming up through the roof.More >>
    COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho. - The Coeur d'Alene Fire Department responded to a structure fire just after 6am Thursday morning at a two-story commercial building in the 1400 block of N. Lincoln Way at Linden. When they arrived at the office building they could see smoke coming up through the roof. More >>
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and KHQ. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.