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."

HD DOPPLER 6i
/
  • Top Stories from KHQHomeMore>>

  • Mad Minute stories from Monday, February 19th

    Mad Minute stories from Monday, February 19th

    Tuesday, February 20 2018 12:45 AM EST2018-02-20 05:45:17 GMT

    Here are the extended versions of the KHQ Local News 11 at 11 Mad Minute stories from Monday, February 19th.

    More >>

    Here are the extended versions of the KHQ Local News 11 at 11 Mad Minute stories from Monday, February 19th.

    More >>
  • Helping Spokane's homeless in dangerously cold temperatures

    Helping Spokane's homeless in dangerously cold temperatures

    Tuesday, February 20 2018 12:22 AM EST2018-02-20 05:22:38 GMT

    SPOKANE, Wash. - With the temperatures so cold, most of us are staying warm inside our homes. But what about those who don’t have homes? The city of Spokane and its partners have switched to a system where warming centers are open 24 hours a day regardless of the temperature. Those who need a place to go can go to the House of Charity.

    More >>

    SPOKANE, Wash. - With the temperatures so cold, most of us are staying warm inside our homes. But what about those who don’t have homes? The city of Spokane and its partners have switched to a system where warming centers are open 24 hours a day regardless of the temperature. Those who need a place to go can go to the House of Charity.

    More >>
  • Spokane woman recovering from broken pelvis after purse snatching

    Spokane woman recovering from broken pelvis after purse snatching

    Tuesday, February 20 2018 12:07 AM EST2018-02-20 05:07:06 GMT

    SPOKANE, Wash. - A Spokane woman is speaking out after she was dragged about 20 feet by a car, and nearly run over, after purse snatching. Kathy Kohlieber broke her pelvis and had to be sent to Multicare Valley Hospital. She’s been there since the incident Saturday evening around 5 p.m. Kathy says she went to Walmart, “to get a bag of Cosmos caramel corn, which is so good.”

    More >>

    SPOKANE, Wash. - A Spokane woman is speaking out after she was dragged about 20 feet by a car, and nearly run over, after purse snatching. Kathy Kohlieber broke her pelvis and had to be sent to Multicare Valley Hospital. She’s been there since the incident Saturday evening around 5 p.m. Kathy says she went to Walmart, “to get a bag of Cosmos caramel corn, which is so good.”

    More >>