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>>

  • WATCH IT: A farmer. A trombone. An empty field. What happens next?

    WATCH IT: A farmer. A trombone. An empty field. What happens next?

    Friday, August 22 2014 1:42 PM EDT2014-08-22 17:42:29 GMT
    KHQ.COM - The video begins simply enough. A man who calls himself Farmer Derek Klingenberg walks into the frame with a trombone, looks at the camera, gives a "shhhhh" sign, and then sits down in a lawn chair and begins to play a cover version of Lorde's "Royals." More >>
    KHQ.COM - The video begins simply enough. A man who calls himself Farmer Derek Klingenberg walks into the frame with a trombone, looks at the camera, gives a "shhhhh" sign, and then sits down in a lawn chair and begins to play a cover version of Lorde's "Royals." What happens next? An audience quickly forms. Check it out.More >>
  • DUI suspect gets car stuck on train tracks, breaks ankle trying to get away

    DUI suspect gets car stuck on train tracks, breaks ankle trying to get away

    Friday, August 22 2014 1:29 PM EDT2014-08-22 17:29:45 GMT
    SPOKANE, Wash. - A 24-year-old man was arrested for DUI early Friday morning after police say he abandoned his car on train tracks in downtown Spokane shortly before it was hit by a train, and then broke his ankle fleeing the scene. More >>
    SPOKANE, Wash. - A 24-year-old man was arrested for DUI early Friday morning after police say he abandoned his car on train tracks in downtown Spokane shortly before it was hit by a train, and then broke his ankle fleeing the scene. Just before 3:00am, Spokane Police were told a train hit a car near the intersection of S. Browne St. and W. Pacific Ave. More >>
  • Flash flooding & mudslides trap people in Okanogan County

    Flash flooding & mudslides trap people in Okanogan County

    Friday, August 22 2014 9:30 AM EDT2014-08-22 13:30:33 GMT
    Benson Creek FloodingBenson Creek Flooding
    OKANOGAN COUNTY, Wash.- A Washington state trooper says floods and mud slides triggered by heavy rain on wildfire-burned terrain in north-central Washington have blocked portions of two highways, stranding some motorists.More >>
    OKANOGAN COUNTY, Wash.- A Washington state trooper says floods and mud slides triggered by heavy rain on wildfire-burned terrain in north-central Washington have blocked portions of two highways, stranding some motorists.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.