After years of delay, the Granite Mountain Hotshot autopsy records are released

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By John Dougherty

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.

And requests by the media to obtain the autopsy reports, which are typically public records, were rejected by Yavapai County Attorney Sheila Polk who stated in an August 26, 2013 letter to the media that “absent a court order, these items will not be released.”

The Arizona Republic sued the Yavapai County Medical Examiner and the Yavapai County Sheriff on Sept. 18, 2013 seeking the autopsy records as well as additional information including photographs of the location where the men died in a box canyon at the base of the Weaver Mountains west of Yarnell, AZ.

The Republic, however, dropped its claim against the Yavapai County Medical Examiner seeking copies of the autopsy reports on Sept. 30, 2013 after the state released the Serious Accident Investigation Report (SAIR) two days earlier.

The SAIR did not include the autopsy or the toxicology reports, but according to the Republic’s pleading, the investigative report “included the same essential information” that was being sought in the lawsuit.

Polk’s refusal to release the autopsy reports and the Republic’s decision to drop its lawsuit resulted in the autopsy reports being kept from public review, until now.

InvestigativeMEDIA filed a public records request with the Yavapai County Medical Examiner on Oct. 26 seeking the autopsy and toxicology records while specifically stating that photographs were not being sought. Yavapai County released the reports a couple of days later.

One of the most potentially significant, but easily misunderstood, findings in the toxicology reports is the presence of alcohol in the blood of 13 of the 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots ranging from .01 to .09 percent. A person is legally drunk in Arizona at .08%. Another hotshot had several drugs of abuse in his blood, but no alcohol.

The fact that alcohol was present in the blood of the 13 men raises the possibility the men were drinking heavily the night before or even while on the fire line.  The presence of alcohol could also be the result of decomposition of the bodies that were subjected to extreme heat and left on the ground over night after the burn over that occurred at approximately 4:45 p.m.

“Although not well-known to most professionals, it is generally accepted and documented within the toxicological literature that severely burned postmortem bodies more often than not produce endogenous alcohol,” a Nov. 2013 report by Toxicology Consultants and Assessment Specialists, LLC states. “This phenomenon has been studied and published in articles by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) following the autopsies of hundreds of plane crash victims known not to have consumed alcohol, USS Iowa turret gunnery disaster victims in 1989 and in many other severe burn cases.”

Three hotshots had alcohol in their blood and also in the fluid inside their eyes, known as vitreous humor. The presence of alcohol in both blood and vitreous samples is considered to be a possible indication that the alcohol was ingested rather than resulting from decomposition. But this, once again, is far from conclusive.

According to the toxicology report, Garrett Zuppiger had a blood alcohol content of .04% and vitreous alcohol sample of .01%. Robert Caldwell had a blood alcohol content of .01% and a vitreous alcohol sample of .01%. Maricopa County Medical Examiner Kathleen Enstice states that the presence of alcohol in the blood and vitreous samples for Zuppiger and Caldwell “was most likely due to decompositional changes.”

Joe Thurston had blood alcohol of .05% and a vitreous sample of .01%. Medical Examiner Mark Shelly did not provide an assessment on why alcohol was present in both samples.

The presence of alcohol in the blood of the other 10 hotshots without a corresponding presence of alcohol in vitreous sample is an indication that the alcohol was created after death, according to published studies.  On the other hand, the fact that five hotshots showed zero alcohol in their blood raises questions of whether decomposition is the only cause for the presence of alcohol in the blood of the 13 other hotshots.

The presence of alcohol and/or drugs in 14 of the 19 hotshots was never disclosed or the subject of inquiry in the two state investigations into the Yarnell Hill Fire disaster which claimed the most lives of an Interagency Hotshot Crew in U.S. wild land fire fighting history.

There is no record of communications between the Serious Accident Investigation Team and the Arizona Division of Occupational Safety and Health with the Yavapai County Medical Examiner or the Maricopa County Medical Examiner, which conducted the autopsies on July 2 for Yavapai, that would show if or when the autopsy reports were provided to investigators, the medical examiners from both counties state in response to public records requests.

Neither the Serious Accident Investigation Report nor the wrongful death inquiry by the ADOSH examined what the men were doing the night before they were sent to Yarnell on what was supposed to be their first of two days off after working 28 of the previous 30 days including 26 days on fires and had just come off a 12-hour shift.

Published reports state at least three hotshots were drinking in a local Prescott bar on the evening of June 29. These included Zuppiger, Christopher MacKenzie and the crew’s sole survivor, Brendan McDonough.

The hotshots were drinking “at the Whiskey Row Pub, a dive in Prescott’s historic downtown,” according to 2013 story in Outside Magazine. “When the hotshots came to drink in groups, as they often did on rare days off, bartender Jeff Bunch gave them a discount. His son was a former crew member.”

MacKenzie had a blood alcohol content of .01%. There is no comment about the presence of alcohol in MacKenzie’s blood sample by Medical Examiner Christopher K. Poulos.

The autopsy and toxicology reports raise questions as to the condition of McDonough on June 30, 2013.  McDonough was not tested, as far as is known, for alcohol or drugs despite the fact that his entire crew had been killed in an event that to this day no one has provided a clear explanation of the moments leading up to the disaster. McDonough was working as a lookout in a separate location and was not with the crew when it was trapped by a wall of flames.

Statements from an eyewitness who saw the crew on the morning of June 30 while ascending the Weaver Mountains raise questions about the physical condition of the men.

“What I saw was a group of men (who) were totally spent,” says Sonny Gilligan, an experienced hiker and former miner and cowboy who saw the crew hiking up a two-track trail at about 9:18 a.m. “They looked like they were tired. They weren’t somebody you would want to fight a fire. They needed rest.”

There’s also indication from the crew that many members were tired before they went to Yarnell. The men listed their energy level on a chalkboard inside the crew’s station on the morning of June 30. Two listed their “physical percentage” in the 30 percent range, one at 55%, three in the 60% range including superintendent Eric Marsh who reported 68% and three in the 70% range. One hotshot expressed he was ready for “moderate duty”. Only two hotshots said they were 100%.

Were the men exhausted from working nonstop most of the month of June?

Were some of them hung over from a long night on the town?

Were they worn out from celebrating their role in successfully fighting the Doce Fire a week earlier that threatened Prescott communities and where they were widely hailed as heroes?

The answers to these questions remain unknown.

The complete autopsy and toxicology reports are posted here. There are detailed descriptions of the conditions of the bodies that may be disturbing.

© Copyright 2015 John Dougherty, All rights Reserved. Written For: Investigative MEDIA

Comments

  1. Robert the Second says

    Given that GMHS Grant Scott McKee had several prescription drugs in his blood, this is an interesting and somewhat relevant, 2008 Fire Engineering article titled ‘Firefighter Deaths from Prescription Medications: Two Case Studies.”

    Indeed, breathing in the super-heated air and thermal burns from the YH Fire were the cause of death and NOT the prescription drugs for the structural firefighters in the article.

    http://www.fireengineering.com/articles/print/volume-161/issue-12/departments/fire-service-ems/firefighter-deaths-from-prescription-medications-two-case-studies.html

    • Robert the Second says

      Article below verbatim from Fire Engineering (12/01/2008)

      Firefighter Deaths from Prescription Medications: Two Case Studies
      12/01/2008
      By Tommy Baldwin and Tom Hales

      Firefighters have hazardous jobs—jobs that put them at risk for injury and illness.1-5 Many of these injuries/illnesses involve the musculoskeletal system, (2, 4, 5) whose treatment may involve the short-term prescription of painkilling medications, including narcotics. Typically, these injuries/illnesses resolve before work restrictions are needed. However, in some cases, the pain persists and work restrictions, for the condition or for the prescribed medications, are appropriate. This article highlights the potential dangers of taking pain medications by describing the on-duty deaths of two firefighters whose deaths were ascribed to prescribed narcotics and other painkillers. The article includes guidance on this topic as set forth in National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 1582, Standard on Comprehensive Occupational Medical Program for Fire Departments.

      CASE STUDIES

      Case #1 involved a 31-year-old male volunteer firefighter who responded to his station during a 911 call for smoke in a basement. After arriving at his fire station, he waited for one of the fire department’s driver/operators to arrive and drive him and the engine to the scene. While he was waiting, the first assistant chief arrived at the residence, determined a full response was not needed, and cancelled the response. The driver/operator returned home without arriving at the fire station. About 30 minutes later, a civilian driving by the fire station noticed a collapsed firefighter just inside the station and notified 911. Despite cardiopulmonary resuscitation and advanced life support, the firefighter died. The death certificate and autopsy listed “acute intoxication by the combined effects of propoxyphene (Darvon®) and cyclobenzaprine (Flexeril®)” as the cause of death and “hypertension” as another condition.

      The firefighter had a medical history of chronic strained back muscles (not duty related) and had been prescribed pain medications for five years.7 Prescriptions included narcotics (Darvon®, Percocet®, Oxycontin®) and a muscle relaxant (Flexeril®). At autopsy, the firefighter had a propoxyphene blood level of 3.3 milligrams per liter (mg/L), well above the therapeutic level of 0.42 mg/L. He also had a cyclobenzaprine blood level of 0.09 mg/L, well above the therapeutic level of 0.026 mg/L. (7)

      The department requires preplacement medical evaluations for applicants and periodic medical evaluations for all members. The physician conducting the department’s periodic medical evaluations was unaware of the firefighter’s history of back pain or narcotic use and cleared him for unrestricted duty two years prior to his death. Medical records suggested the firefighter did not disclose his former and current prescription use or his history of chronic back pain to the department physician.

      Case #2 involved a 28-year-old male volunteer chief attending an emergency medical services conference. The evening before the conference, the chief and his wife went to bed at 2230 hours. The next morning, at 0900 hours, the chief’s spouse awoke and found the chief unresponsive. She called 911, and an ambulance responded. From the chief’s clinical condition, it was obvious he had expired some time earlier. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation and advanced life support treatment were not performed, and he was pronounced dead at the scene. The death certificate and the autopsy, conducted by the chief medical examiner, listed “accidental multiple drug intoxication” as the cause of death.

      The chief had a history of a back injury with subsequent surgery. He had been prescribed pain medications for eight years, which included narcotics (MS Contin®), muscle relaxants (Flexeril®, Robaxin®, Valium®), antidepressants (Effexor®, Paxil®), and sleeping pills (Ambien®).8 At autopsy, the chief had a morphine (MS Contin®) blood level of <50 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL); well within the therapeutic level of 80 ng/mL. He also had a diazepam (Valium®) blood level of 514 ng/mL; well within the therapeutic level of 1,000 ng/mL. (8) Although both medicines were within therapeutic level, the chief medical examiner felt the interaction of the two drugs was responsible for the chief’s death.

      The department did not require preplacement or periodic medical evaluations. However, according to the department, all firefighter applicants must be in self-reported excellent health and physically fit. The chief’s personal physician was aware of NFPA 1582 guidance regarding narcotic use but cleared the chief for light duty based on the chief’s self-assessment that he did not respond to “emergencies.”
      DISCUSSION

      These two cases illustrate the dangers of taking multiple pain medications. Table 1 lists the generic and brand names of the medications prescribed over a five- and eight-year period for these two firefighters. These medications are dangerous not only because of the risk of overdosing but because they also have side effects that can impair the performance of firefighting duties. Table 2 lists the side effects of the medications, which can affect firefighter work performance. Taking pain medications when working jeopardizes that firefighter’s safety as well as the safety of other firefighters operating at the emergency scene. This risk extends to the general public if the firefighter is operating apparatus under emergency conditions.

      These deaths highlight the importance of periodic medical evaluations by fire departments. During these evaluations, firefighters must provide an accurate medical history to the examining physician. In Case #1, periodic medical evaluations were performed, but the firefighter did not report his medication use to the examining physician. In Case #2, the chief provided accurate information to his private physician, but the department did not require periodic medical evaluations. These recommendations apply to firefighters who respond to emergency calls as well as to some who have other roles—for example, firefighters who don’t respond to real emergencies but participate in live-fire drills.

      Propoxyphene (Darvon®) is a narcotic analgesic that has been in clinical use since 1963. It is somewhat less potent than codeine and bears a close structural relationship to methadone. It is available in oral formulations as the hydrochloride (Propoxyphene HCl) or the napsylate salt [Propoxyphene N (Darvocet-N®)]. Both formulations are often combined with aspirin or acetaminophen. Daily therapeutic oral doses of propoxyphene range from 128-390 mg for Propoxyphene HCl and from 200-600 mg for Propoxyphene N.9

      Propoxyphene is metabolized to norpropoxyphene, which is one-fourth to one-half as active an analgesic as propoxyphene, but it accumulates in blood plasma because of a longer half-life. The contribution of norpropoxyphene to the efficacy or toxicity of the parent drug has not been thoroughly established (9),10 Propoxyphene has the usual respiratory depressant effects common to all beta-agonist narcotics. (10) Overdosage with propoxyphene can result in stupor, coma, convulsions, respiratory depression, cardiac arrhythmias, hypotension, pulmonary edema, and circulatory collapse.

      CONTINUED ON NEXT REPLY

      • Robert the Second says

        CONTINUATION OF ABOVE FIRE ENGINEERING ARTICLE

        Following a single 130-mg oral dose of propoxyphene HCl, plasma concentrations reach 0.23 milligrams per liter (mg/L) at two hours; the plasma concentration of its metabolite (norpropoxyphene) reaches 0.27 mg/L at four hours. Chronic daily doses of 195 mg of propoxyphene HCl were shown to produce average plasma concentrations of 0.42 mg/L propoxyphene and 1.45 mg/L norpropoxyphene two hours after the last administration. (9)

        Generally, blood propoxyphene concentrations exceeding 1 mg/L are considered indicative of serious toxicity, and concentrations of 2 mg/L or more are consistent with death. However, fatalities have been reported with blood propoxyphene concentrations <1 mg/L.(9) Seven acutely intoxicated patients who survived because of hospital treatment were found to have average plasma propoxyphene and norpropoxyphene concentrations of 1.6 mg/L and 2.0 mg/L, respectively. (9) In another report of 72 cases in which acute propoxyphene overdosage was the sole cause of death, postmortem femoral blood concentrations averaged 2.8 mg/L (range, 1.3 – 8.1). In most specimens, norpropoxyphene concentrations exceed those of propoxyphene. (9)

        To provide guidance for physicians and other health care providers for maintaining a comprehensive occupational medical program for fire departments, the NFPA developed NFPA 1582, Standard on Comprehensive Occupational Medical Program for Fire Departments. (6) Among other issues, NFPA 1582 provides guidance on medication use that should result in restricted duty. NFPA 1582 considers narcotics use to be a Category A condition for candidates, defined as “a medical condition that would preclude a person from performing as a member in a training or an emergency operational environment by presenting a significant risk to the safety and health of the person or others.”(6) Candidates’ use of psychiatric medications and muscle relaxants is considered a Category B condition, defined as “a medical condition that, based on its severity or degree, could preclude a person from performing as a member in a training or [an] emergency operational environment by presenting a significant risk to the safety and health of the person or others.”(6)

        NFPA 1582 recommends that any prescription medicine (narcotics, muscle relaxants, sedatives, etc.) that alters mental status, vigilance, judgment, or other neurologic functions should result in temporary restrictions. These medications preclude a firefighter from safely performing the essential job tasks of firefighting (Table 3 not shown).

        Other occupations whose job tasks involve public safety also restrict the use of prescription medications. For example, the U.S. Department of Transportation will not issue a commercial driver’s license to “a person taking narcotics unless the drug is prescribed by a licensed medical practitioner who is familiar with the driver’s medical history and assigned duties and has advised the driver that the prescribed drug will not adversely affect the driver’s ability to safely operate a commercial vehicle.”11

        The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will defer medical certification for pilots taking mood-ameliorating, narcotic, or sedative medications unless the treatment has been previously cleared by FAA medical authority. During periods in which these medications are being used for treatment of acute illnesses, the airman is under obligation to refrain from exercising the privileges of his airman medical certificate unless cleared by the FAA.12

        For police officers, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts considers the use of narcotics, sedatives, and psychoactive agents to be a “Category B” medical condition that could preclude a candidate from performing the essential functions of a police officer because of the safety risk.13

        The State of California has determined that medication-induced impairment can place a patrol officer and others at substantial risk of harm. Consequently, all candidates who report the use of medications on a chronic or an intermittent basis must be carefully evaluated to determine their suitability for unrestricted duty.14

        NFPA 1582 also addresses fitness-for-duty issues for candidates and members with spine disorders and back pain. For candidates, a history of spinal surgery involving fusion of two or more vertebrae and any spinal or skeletal condition causing pain that frequently or recurrently requires narcotic analgesic medication are considered Category A conditions, precluding them from becoming firefighters.

        For members, spinal fusion at two or more levels and a spinal condition with significant radiculopathy resulting in peripheral motor weakness, loss of strength, sensation, and reflexes affecting endurance, strength, flexibility, pain, and/or gait disturbances compromises the member’s ability to safely perform essential job tasks 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 13 (Table 3).

        To ensure the safety of firefighters and the public whose lives they protect and to address prescription medication use in firefighters, fire departments should do the following:

        Provide post-offer/preplacement medical evaluations to candidates and annual medical evaluations to members in accordance with NFPA 1582.
        Ensure members are knowledgeable of, and comply with, fire department requirements regarding reporting any medical condition that could interfere with their ability to safely perform essential job tasks. This must include all medications, prescription and over-the-counter.
        Ensure that firefighters are cleared for duty by a physician knowledgeable about the physical demands of firefighting and the various components of NFPA 1582.

        References

        1. Brandt-Rauf, PW, LF Fallon Jr., T Tarantini, C Idema, L Andrews, “Health hazards of firefighters: exposure assessment,” Br J Ind Med, 1988; 45:606-612.

        2. Matticks CA, JJ Westwater, HN Himel, RF Morgan, RF Edlich, “Health risks to firefighters,” J Burn Care Rehab, 1992; 13:223-235.

        3. Guidotti, TL, “Human factors in firefighting: ergonomic-, cardiopulmonary-, and psychogenic stress-related issues,” Int Arch Occup Environ Health, 1992; 64:1-12.

        4. Magnetti, SM, WD Wyant, J Greenwood, NJ Roder, JC Linton, AM Ducatman, “Injuries to volunteer firefighters in West Virginia,” JOEM, 1998; 41(2):104-110.

        5. Reichelt, PA, KM Conrad,”Musculosckeletal injury: ergonomics and physical fitness in firefighters.” In: Orris P, J Melius, RM Duffy, eds. Occupational medicine, firefighter’s safety and health. (Philadelphia, PA: Hanley and Belfus, 1995), (10)4: 735-746.

        6. NFPA 1582: Standard on Comprehensive Occupational Medical Program for Fire Departments. Quincy MA: National Fire Protection Association.

        7. “Fire Fighter Dies After Responding to a Call–New York.” Morgantown, WV: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Division of Safety Research. Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation and Prevention Program Report No. F2005-24. http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/fire/reports/face200524.html.

        8. “Fire Chief Suffers Sudden Death During Training–Alabama,” Morgantown, WV: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Division of Safety Research. Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation and Prevention Program Report No. F2006-01. http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/fire/reports/face200601.html.

        9. Baselt RC. Disposition of Toxic Drugs and Chemicals in Man. (Foster City, CA: Biomedical Publications. 7th Edition, 2004), 953-956.

        10. Karch SB. Karch’s Pathology of Drug Abuse. (Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press. 3rd Edition, 2002), 372-373.

        11. CFR. 49 CFR 391.41, Physical Qualifications for Drivers. Code of Federal Regulations. Washington, DC: National Archives and Records Administration, Office of the Federal Register.

        12. Guide for aviation medical examiners: application process for medical certification. [http://www.faa.gov/about/office_org/
        headquarters_offices/avs/offices/aam/ame/guide/app_process/
        app_history/item17a/index.cfm?print=go]. FAA, 2006. Date accessed: January 2007.

        13. Municipal police officers’ medical standards and essential functions. Public Employee Retirement Administration Commission. Commonwealth of Massachusetts: Sommerville, Mass., 2004.

        14. Medical Screening Manual for California Law Enforcement. California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training. Sacramento, Ca., 2004.

        TOMMY BALDWIN, MS, is with the NIOSH Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation and Prevention Program, Cardiovascular Disease Component, Cincinnati, Ohio. He is a National Association of Fire Investigators (NAFI)-certified fire and explosion investigator, an International Fire Service Accreditation Congress (IFSAC)-certified fire officer I, and a former firefighter/EMT and chief. He has a B.S. in fire investigation and an M.S. in loss prevention and safety from Eastern Kentucky University.

        TOM HALES, MD, MPH, is the team leader for the NIOSH Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation and Prevention Program, Cardiovascular Disease Component, Cincinnati, Ohio. He is board certified in internal medicine and occupational medicine and is a member of the NFPA Technical Committee Fire Service Occupational Safety and Health.

  2. Bdelong says

    In the search for answers, it would be interesting to speak with the Blue Ridge Hot Shots as Blue Ridge relocated GM’s crew carriers to a different location during the burnover. Surely there was crew channel radio traffic (between Marsh & Steed) that hasn’t been published or heard by everyone else working the fire. All crews have internal communication channels and surely Blue Ridge heard something when moving those crew carriers? Just a thought…

    • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

      It’s more than ‘just a thought’, Bdelong.

      It is HIGHLY LIKELY that no less than four Blue Ridge Hotshots were hearing the same Granite Mountain Intra-Crew radio traffic that Brendan McDonough was hearing as he, himself, sat in the Granite Mountain Superintendent Truck for more than an HOUR, from 3:45 PM to 4:45 PM, with absolutely nothing else to do but be listening to that Crew channel in case he needed to receive instructions about where to take the GM vehicles and/or pickup his own crew.

      The GM CREW NET frequency was the PRIORITY channel for ALL of the onboard radios in ALL of the Granite Mountain vehicles.

      It’s the radio frequency they use to communicate with each other while they are actuall ‘on the road’ and driving the vehicles.

      It’s a given that all you had to do was get in any one of these vehicles, turn the key, and the onboard radio immediately comes on with the GM CREW NET as it’s priority transmit/receive channel.

      Blue Ridge Hotshot Assistant Superintendent ( Captain ) Trueheart Brown drove the Granite Mountain Chase vehicle himself all the way from where it was parked that morning over to the Youth Camp at the end of Shrine Road, along with two other ( as yet unnamed ) Blue Ridge Hotshots driving the GM Crew Carriers and, of course, Brendan McDonough in the same convoy driving the GM Superintendent truck.

      According to his own (signed) Unit Log… Blue Ridge Captain Trueheart Brown was not only LISTENING to the GM CREW NET frequency while he was driving the GM Chase truck… he actually testified that he was TALKING to both Eric Marsh and Jesse Steed over that same CREW NET frequency WHILE he was driving it.

      It was a long drive around to the Youth Camp and plenty of time for anyone in any of those four GM vehicles to have heard the ENTIRE known “discussing their options” conversation that was taking place between Eric Marsh and Jesse Steed at that exact time.

      This is also the same timeframe when the supposed ‘argument’ took place between Eric Marsh and Jesse Steed… with Eric Marsh trying to convince Jesse Steed to take those men out of the safe black and make the highly risky move to the Boulder Springs Ranch.

      The ‘argument’ supposedly ended ( after three refusals on Jesse Steed’s part ) with Eric Marsh just ORDERING Jesse Steed to bring those men down no matter how risky Steed thought it might be.

      If this argument really did happen in the timeframe indicated by other evidence… then not only did Brendan Mcdonough hear it transpiring while in the GM Superintendent truck… so ( most likely ) did any of the Blue Ridge Hotshots who were driving the other 3 GM vehicles.

      There was yet another extensive discussion about this… and how MANY Blue Ridge Hotshots probably also heard everything Brendan Mcdonough did… and WHEN… just today over in Chapter 18 of the other InvestigativeMEDIA ongoing discussion of the Yarnell Hill Fire.

      The title of that posting made TODAY over there is…

      ** MORE THAN ONE BLUE RIDGE HOTSHOT DROVE THE GM CHASE TRUCK
      ** AND HAD FULL ACCESS TO THE GM CREW-NET RADIO.

      And here is a direct jumplink to that post over in Chapter 18…

      http://www.investigativemedia.com/please-begin-yarnell-hill-fire-chapter-xviii-here/#comment-321136

      • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

        Followup…

        There are many, many passages and even complete paragraphs in the official Blue Ridge Unit Logs that seem to indicate the men writing down things they were hearing over the radios… but ALL of these entries in their own Unit Logs were REDACTED ( BLACKED OUT ) by the US Forestry Service.

        The Freedom Of Information Act ( FOIA ) ‘exemption’ they claimed for these BLACKOUTS was NOT some kind of standard FOIA ‘privacy related’ exemption.

        US Forestry was claiming an FOIA exemption of “sensitive information” for all these BLACKOUTS in the Blue Ridge Unit Logs and After-Action-Review testimony documents.

        Sensitive… to WHO?… and WHY?

        Even the Arizona Department of Occupational Safety and Health ( ADOSH ) agency legally tasked with investigating these fatalities in that Arizona workplace was never allowed to see the UNREDACTED versions of these Blue Ridge Unit Logs.

        ADOSH was also NEVER allowed to ‘talk’ to ANY of the Blue Ridge Hotshots.

  3. WantsToKnowTheTruth says

    **
    ** THE GRANITE MOUNTAIN AUTOPSY REPORTS
    **
    ** EVIDENCE OF PHYSICAL INJURIES PRIOR TO DEPLOYMENT

    Well… I’ve read through ALL the reports at least 3 times now, word for word, and first just let me say that if there is ANY Wildland Fireghter out there who thinks for one second that the hard-wrought SAFETY RULES and RULES OF ENGAGEMENT for this profession ( already paid for with many lives long before Yarnell ) are, in any way, ‘Old school’ or ‘Hillbilly’ or even ‘Optional’… I think they should be forced to sit their asses down in a chair and read ALL of these autopsy reports, word for word, like I just did.

    I believe they will (permanently) have a different ‘attitude’ towards fireline safety and the existing rules of their profession when they finish reading them.

    Actually… I would bet MONEY on it.

    That being said…

    There have ALWAYS been rumors that perhaps one of the reasons the Granite Mountain Hotshots’ forward progress for the latter part of their hike towards the Boulder Spring Ranch seemed to slow down to almost a ‘crawl’ *might* have been due to some kind of ‘physical injury’ taking place on the crew which remained ‘unreported’ via radio.

    So it seemed very much worth a detailed look at the ‘autopsy reports’ to see if there is/was actually any EVIDENCE to support such a theory.

    I think it’s now safe to say NO… there is no such evidence.

    There ARE mention of some ‘fractures’… but the Maricopa County Medical Examiners were attributing ALL of those ‘fractures’ or ‘bone separations’ ( except for ONE, see below ) to ‘normal’ thermal (heat) related causes.

    The ONLY non-thermal related physical injuries being reported by the Medical Examiners that *may* have happened prior to the burnover are some ‘blunt force’ injuries to just TWO of the Hotshots.

    Christopher MacKenzie had some kind of impact injury to the back of his right HAND, and Clayton Whitted showed blunt force HEAD injuries that seem to be consistent with falling down ( face forward ) and hitting his head on something.

    ** FRACTURES

    Only 5 ( FIVE ) of the 19 ( NINETEEN ) reports mention ‘fractures’…

    Various ‘thermal fractures’ and ‘disarticulations’ ( bone separations ) involving ribs, elbows, feet, knees and femurs ( upper leg bone ).

    NOTE: The Medical Examiners attribute ALL of these ‘fractures’ and ‘disarticulations’ to THERMAL (HEAT) influences, and not something that might have happened BEFORE the deployment.

    There is only ONE ‘disarticulation’ of anyone’s ANKLE where the Medical Examiner did NOT specifically say that the ‘disarticulation’ was ‘thermal related. That would be for Garret Zuppiger’s LEFT ANKLE.

    Direct quotes from the report(s)…

    Sean Misner – Thermal fracture of the right femur.

    Christopher MacKenzie – Thermal related fractures of the right foot.

    Andrew Ashcraft – Heat related disarticulation present in the right knee. There is also heat related disarticulation present in the right elbow.

    Clayton Whitted – Thermal related rib fractures are identified.

    Garret Zuppiger – Fire fracturing of the right ankle, foot and digits. Disarticulation of the left ankle, foot and digits.

    ** BLUNT FORCE INJURIES

    Only 2 ( FIVE ) of the 19 ( NINETEEN ) reports mention ‘Blunt force trauma’…

    Christopher MacKenzie had some kind of impact injury to the back of his right HAND, and Clayton Whitted showed blunt force HEAD injuries that seem to be consistent with falling down ( face forward ) and hitting his head on something.

    Direct quotes from the report(s)…

    Christopher MacKenzie – Additional nonthermal related injuries include a 1/4-inch red abrasion of the dorsum (back) of the right hand.

    Clayton Whitted – Evidence of blunt force injuries include a 4 x 3 cm area of left frontal subscalp hemorrhage and a 3 x 1 cm area of right frontal subscape hemorrhage.

    ** SUMMARY

    Let me also just say, in light of some recent comments, that if anyone is still upset that people who are still interested in learning the TRUTH about this incident are continuing their inquiries… they need to remember that there was a ‘golden opportunity’ to learn the FULL facts of what happened that weekend and put a lot questions to rest way back in the weeks following the incident itself.

    It’s called ‘making sure you do a good investigation’,

    We all know now that the original Arizona Forestry contracted “Special Accident Investigation” was neither ‘Special’… nor was it a real ‘Investigation’.

    They published a report that was so absent of facts and conclusions that it was INEVITABLE there would be MUCH more to come, especially in this day and age when information is readily accessible to the public and there was no aspect of that workplace ( personnel or equipment ) that was NOT totally taxpayer funded.

    This was NOT an accident that took place on an Exxon Mobile oil rig, with a PRIVATE company in charge of that workplace.

    These were 19 CIVIL SERVANTS, being paid to work in a PUBLIC workplace ‘owned and operated’ by an equally public and wholly-taxpayer-funded Department of the State of Arizona.

    Even the documents just released for inspection have ALWAYS been “Public Documents”, wholly owned by the people who PAID for them to be produced.

    So if anyone is still consternating about why there are still people who want to know the truth about what happened in/around Yarnell the entire weekend of Friday, June 28, 2013 through Sunday, June 30, 2013… then they need to have their own “slowly I turned” moment and start taking a good look at the agencies and the individuals who failed to ‘do the right thing’ in the weeks following the incident.

    If THEY had ‘done their jobs’ correctly and not presented a worthless report that was filled with more ‘mysteries’ than it was with ‘facts’… there wouldn’t be so many lingering ‘questions’ that beg to be answered… and WILL be answered, given time.

    They also need to remember that it is now a known FACT that some key witnesses to the events of that weekend had ALWAYS been ‘withholding’ critical evidence and information from those people who had been legally tasked to investigate the incident… and there is still evidence that is the case for many others.

    Even at this moment… attorneys from the Arizona State attorney general’s office who have been ‘assigned’ to represent Arizona Forestry are arguing before an Arizona Appeals Court that Arizona Forestry does NOT now, nor has it EVER had, any ‘duty’ or ‘responsibility’ whatsover to ever lift one single finger to either DEFEND or PROTECT Citizens OR Structures that do NOT directly reside or occupy space on Arizona State Trust Land.

    That argument automatically makes even the very actions and proposed motivations on the part of Arizona Forestry employees ( and contractors ) that led to this tragedy acts of gross negligence, with AZF employees and contractors taking actions that were completely outside even their legal scope of authority and responsibility, as now being argued in a Court of Law by Arizona Forestry itself.

    And as a Prescott Judge has been known to say in his own open courtroom…

    ————————————————————————————
    I’m afraid that the tragedy that happened June 30, 2013 was something that we’re all gonna be livin’ with the rest of our lives. It was a kick in the gut for the whole community. Countywide plus statewide, nationwide.

    It’s one of those great tragedies that is just one of those things that one can remember where one was when one first heard about something like that… and that’s gonna be a great emotional impact on EVERYBODY.

    And because of it being such a major event… that means people are gonna continue to have opinions about it, talk about it, have meetings about it, have memorials about it… all the different things that come along with great national tragedies like that.

    There are just things that people WILL talk about or whatever… and it’s something, I’m afraid, that’s just something one has to live with… the fact that there WILL be PUBLIC discussion and there WILL be PUBLIC opinions about what happened and why things happened or who… who was or was not responsible… or whatever.
    ————————————————————————————

    So the inquiries related to this ‘great national tragedy’ ( and the discussions ) WILL continue.

    That’s just the way it is.

    • Robert the Second says

      WTKTT,

      I also picked up on GMHS Clayton Whitted’s head injuries, so I’m glad you did as well. One cause/result of GMHS Clayton Whitted’s ‘BLUNT force head injuries’ that I think needs to be considered is, these injuries MAY possibly be SELF-INDUCED, and therefore NOT from a fall. The name of the fire escapes me, however, I recall a fire shelter deployment many years ago where one of the WFF’s talked about banging his head on a rock so that he would knock himself out to avoid the pain, because he thought he might die.

      • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

        Reply to Robert the Second (RTS) post on
        December 15, 2015 at 3:40 pm

        >> RTS said…
        >>
        >> I also picked up on GMHS Clayton Whitted’s head injuries, so I’m
        >> glad you did as well. One cause/result of GMHS Clayton
        >> Whitted’s ‘BLUNT force head injuries’ that I think needs to be
        >> considered is, these injuries MAY possibly be SELF-INDUCED,
        >> and therefore NOT from a fall. The name of the fire escapes me,
        >> however, I recall a fire shelter deployment many years ago where
        >> one of the WFF’s talked about banging his head on a rock so that
        >> he would knock himself out to avoid the pain, because he thought
        >> he might die.

        Former Hotshot turned author Kyle Dickman mentioned this in his original article about Yarnell that he published on September 17, 2013.

        It was in the section when he was describing the moments when Brendan McDonough ( Donut ) was thinking about deploying out near that old-grader, which only had a 1-blade-wide dozer push around it… but was the place Brendan had been TOLD was his designated ‘Safety Zone’.

        Outside Online
        19: The True Story of the Yarnell Hill Fire
        Published: Sep 17, 2013 by Kyle Dickman
        http://www.outsideonline.com/1926426/19-true-story-yarnell-hill-fire
        ————————————————————————–
        Donut couldn’t see the flames behind the knoll he’d just come down from, but he knew from the moment he hit the safety zone that the fire was ripping. The fire was winding up and would soon cut off his escape route down the two-track the crew had hiked up from Yarnell that morning. He could hightail it back toward the rest of the crew, but one look at the 800 feet of elevation he had to climb and he thought: Fuck no, I can’t outrun this.

        His next option seemed worse: deploying his fire shelter, the bivy-sack-size aluminum tent that all wildland firefighters carry as a last resort. The shelters deflect heat but melt when hit directly by flames.

        The dozer push should have been big enough to survive a deployment, but it wasn’t something Donut cared to test.

        In 1994, an Arizona hotshot who deployed considered beating his head against a rock to knock himself unconscious. If he lived, he figured, at least he’d avoid the pain and wake up after the storm passed.
        —————————————————————————

        Relevant sentence…

        “In 1994, an Arizona hotshot who deployed considered beating his head against a rock to knock himself unconscious.”

        Dickman doesn’t NAME the Hotshot, nor the specific 1994 incident, but he DOES specifically say it was an ‘Arizona Hotshot’.

        So Dickman *might* be referring to one of the three ‘Prescott Hotshots’ from the Prescott National Forest who underwent that ‘burnover’ in a ‘boulder field’ at the 1994 ‘Mackenzie Incident’ on the Kingman Resource Area.

        Prescott Interagency Hot Shot Crew
        Deployment Survivors
        http://www.wildfirelessons.net/HigherLogic/System/DownloadDocumentFile.ashx?DocumentFileKey=092e0f6f-4e09-4b57-bbef-d43722e56288
        ———————————————–
        On June 1, 1994 three members of the Prescott Interagency Hot Shot Crew deployed fire shelters on the Mackenzie Incident on the Kingman Resource Area, Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

        The three personnel include ( #1 Charles Brian Misfelt, crew member ) ( #2 Duane Koon, foreman ) and ( #3 Curtis G. Heaton, squad boss ).

        The deployment of shelters occurred at approximately 1400 hrs in a granite boulder field at the base of a very steep slope in a dense brush filled shallow drainage.

        The boulder field was made up of 8 to 15 foot diameter round granite rocks that had numerous horizontal and vertical crevices from 1 to 10 feet wide. It was within the crevices that the shelters were deployed on the ground and on the boulders themselves. All three firefighters survived the burnover with only Curtis Heaton sustaining an inury consisting of a second-degree burn to his upper right shoulder area.
        ————————————————-

        So I don’t know if this is the 1994 ‘deployment’ involving ‘Arizona Hotshots’ that Dickman was referring to… but it’s interesting to note the similarities to Yarnell ( minus the outcome ).

        1. The deployment of shelters occurred in a granite boulder field at the base of a very steep slope in a dense brush filled shallow drainage.

        2. The boulder field was made up of 8 to 15 foot diameter round granite rocks that had numerous horizontal and vertical crevices from 1 to 10 feet wide.

        Sound familiar?

        That’s because that’s a pretty close description of those ‘Boulder Fields’ that were right there near the Granite Mountain Hotshots on either side of them when they chose, instead, to deploy in the middle of the floor of the box canyon.

        Sonny (Tex) Gilligan has always pointed out that the ‘Boulder Field’ just to the north of where they died was at least “the size of a football field” with these same kind of ‘crevices’ that were used for cover in the 1994 deployment…. and post-deployment photographs show that above a certain point on the Boulders there was no evidence of even any ‘charring’ or any ‘direct flame contact’ at all.

        ** CLAYTON WHITTED’S FOREHEAD INJURY

        Once again… from the Medical Examiner’s report…

        Clayton Whitted – Evidence of blunt force injuries include a 4 x 3 cm area of left frontal subscalp hemorrhage and a 3 x 1 cm area of right frontal subscalp hemorrhage.

        DIMENSIONS…

        4 x 3 cm area = 1.57 inch x 1.18 inch area (Slightly smaller than a book of matches)
        3 x 1 cm area = 1.18 inch x 0.39 inch area

        Definition of Hemorrhage
        A hemorrhage may be “external” and visible on the outside of the body or “internal,” where there is no sign of bleeding outside the body. Bleeding from a cut on the face is an external hemorrhage. Bleeding into the spleen or liver are examples of internal hemorrhage.

        So basically… ‘Hemorrhage’ means ‘Bleeding’
        and ‘subscalp’ obviously means ‘under the scalp’.

        ‘Left frontal subscalp’ is referring to the the LEFT forehead, as you are facing the person, and ‘Right frontal subscalp’ refers to the RIGHT forehead, as you are facing the person.

        So what this is all basically saying is that Whitted took some ‘blow’ to the forehead that was hard enough to cause bleeding under the scalp ( but not break the skin ) in two places on either side of his forehead, above his eyebrows.

        The spot on the left side of his forehead was pretty big ( 1.57 inch x 1.18 inch ).

        That’s just slightly smaller than a standard ‘book of matches’.

        The spot on the right side of his forehead was smaller and thinner ( 1.18 inch x 0.39 inch area ), which is the same ‘width’ of a book of matches but only about as tall as the ‘striking area’ of the matchbook.

        NOTE: The Medical Examiner’s report for Whitted makes NO ATTEMPT to explain the head injury or what might have CAUSED it.

        My guesses for Whitted’s head injury might be ( in order of probability )…

        1. He ‘stood up’ during the burnover itself, then passed out and fell face first onto one of those rocks that were all over the ground where they died.

        2. The possibility ( you just mentioned ) of him ( perhaps ) trying to ‘knock himself out by banging his head on a rock, or something, DURING the burnover.

        3. Whitted *might* have had a fall and suffered the head injuries sometime prior to the deployment, but it wasn’t all that bad of an injury to report on the radio or request any medical attention ( at least in their minds, anyway ).

        If it happened on the hike down into the canyon… it MAY have been the source of a DELAY in their hike while everyone huddled around him to make sure he was OK.

        In other words… it wouldn’t have taken an actual sprain or ankle break to cause a serious DELAY while they were hiking down and completely blind to the fire.

        We already know they were so unconcerned about the ‘move’ they had decided to make that they weren’t even ‘hurrying’ on that first part of their hike on the two-track, from the ‘resting spot’ south to the ‘descent point’.

        That same (false) sense of ‘no reason to hurry’ might have persisted as they dropped down into the blind box canyon.

        So any ‘fall’ on the way down… with ANY kind of injury… would have caused a DELAY while everyone stopped to make sure that one man was OK to continue, and they didn’t realize how much trouble they were getting into with each passing minute.

        • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

          Followup…

          The SAIR report actually tells us that Clayton Whitted was, in fact, found lying prone ( FACE DOWN ).

          But it does also say his shelter was ‘partially on him’ when he was found.

          So maybe he did try and ‘stand up’, but then fell face down again and hit his forehead on the ground, causing those ‘blunt force’ injuries at that time.

          From page 96 of the Arizona Forestry SAIR document…
          ———————————————————————-
          Clayton Whitted – Granite Mountain #4

          3. Body Position: The firefighter was found lying prone with feet towards the northeast.

          4. Shelter Use – It is unclear whether the firefighter was able to fully deploy the shelter. The firefighter was mostly deployed inside the fire shelter; the legs and back were covered by the shelter.
          ———————————————————————

        • Robert the Second says

          WTKTT,

          There are several similarities to this fire that compare to the YH Fire, e.g. fuels, weather, human factors, and the really big f** king BOWL!

    • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

      Correction for above. Typo.

      There seem to have been only TWO indications of ‘Blunt Force Injuries’ in the 19 autopsy reports. Christopher MacKenzie ( hand injury ) and Clayton Whitted ( Forehead injury ).

      Christopher MacKenzie had some kind of impact injury to the back of his right HAND, and Clayton Whitted showed Blunt Force HEAD injuries ( to his Forehead ) that seem to be consistent with falling down ( face forward ) and hitting his head on something.

      But up above I typed this and incorrectly left the ‘( FIVE )’ indicator after the digit ‘2’…
      ——————————————————————-
      ** BLUNT FORCE INJURIES
      Only 2 ( FIVE ) of the 19 ( NINETEEN ) reports mention ‘Blunt force trauma’…
      ——————————————————————-

      I SHOULD have typed this instead…
      ——————————————————————-
      ** BLUNT FORCE INJURIES
      Only 2 ( TWO ) of the 19 ( NINETEEN ) reports mention ‘Blunt force trauma’…
      ——————————————————————-

      SIDENOTE: If there really was even just ONE injury that might have happened while the men were descending down into that fuel-filled box canyon… then not only would that account for their pace slowing to a CRAWL at the very time they could not AFFORD for that to happen… it might also explain why none of the men tried to RUN or why they didn’t even attempt to ‘reverse direction’ that afternoon, even before they saw the ‘flaming front’.

      It would have meant leaving the one man behind, OR having to ‘carry’ him back uphill if they had decided to try and go ‘back’.

      If there WAS this kind of ‘injury’ to one of the men ( or men? MORE than one? ) that day… the reason it wasn’t being reported over the radio might be because there are guys that pride themselves on their cross-country hiking abilities and to even admit one of them had suffered a hiking injury might have meant ( in their minds ) that someone might think they were ‘fuck ups’, or something.

      Heck… in a scenario like that… I suppose it’s possible that Jesse Steed wasn’t even informing Eric Marsh about it ( who Brendan McDonough has finally admitted was out ahead of Steed and the others ) for the same reason(s). Didn’t want to look like a ‘fuck up’ even to his Superintendent, or something.

  4. Joy A Collura says

    REPLY AS I READ IT IN CAPS BELOW:
    Gary Olson says

    December 13, 2015 at 8:24 pm

    Manslaughter in Arizona is caused when a person:

    “Causes the death of another through recklessness.”
    JOY REPLIES- THAT IS WHY SONNY CAME BACK FOR ME BECAUSE HE SAID HE WAS AFRAID OF THE BULLSHIT WORLD THAT THEY WOULD SLAP MANSLAUGHTER ON HIM IF I DIED UP THERE.
    SONNY REPLIES: NOT MANSLAUGHTER JOY BUT MURDER CHARGES SINCE I KNEW THE DANGER OF YOU GOING DOWIN IN THAT CANYON AND YOU DID NOT.

    I believe that Eric Marsh’s actions pertaining to moving the GMIHC out of the black meets the very definition of recklessness. WHERE IS THE DOCUMENT OR RESOURCES OR SOURCE TO PROVE THIS STATEMENT THAT INDEED HE WAS THE SOLE PERPERTRATOR OF THOSE MEN GOING DOWN TO PROTECT THE HELMS?

    1. He moved the crew without authorization WHERE IS THE PROOF–THE FBI OR THE RIGHT PEOPLE HAVE NOT INVESTIGATED THIS FIRE PROPERLY AND THERE WERE TOO MANY MISSING ELEMENTS NOT YET SHOWN PLUS THE CEL PHONE RECORDS HAVE NOT BEEN EVALUATED OR INVESTIGATED thereby creating a situation where no one else knew what he was doing HOW DO YOU KNOW NOONE ELSE KNEW?TOO MANY ARE GAG ORDERED TO NOT TALK SO HOW DO YOU KNOW?. When things went horribly wrong, I THINK THINGS WENT HORRIBLY WRONG BEFORE 6-30-13 AND THE MEN SHOULD OF NEVER BEEN ON THAT HILL—everyone thought they were still safe in the black.ARE YOU SURE “EVERYONE” THOUGHT THAT?

    2. He was disingenuous (he lied) when he reported his intentionsWHERE IS THIS COMING FROM—YOU EVER THINK MARSH WAS AWAY FROM THE MEN AND THE MEN DURING RADIO CONVERSATIONS MISUNDERSTOOD THE PATH AND WENT WRONG WAY ????, the crews location, their direction of travel and their intent on the radio.I REALLY BELIEVE THE MAN WITH GREY HAIR AND GREY RIM GLASSES THAT WAS SPEAKING ALOUD THAT THE DISPATCHER REPEATED HIS WORDS VIA RADIO—COUD IT BE POSSIBLE IT WAS A RADIO CONCERN AND NOT MARSH? WE HEARD FROM YCSO DEPUTY THEY KNEW AT ALL TIMES WHERE THEY WERE AND THAT WAS NOT THE CONCERN—CHAOTIC AFTERNOON — BAD THING HAPPENED —MOVE ON WAS WHAT WE WERE TOLD BY YCSO DEPUTY

    3. He violated almost all of the safety rules simultaneously without a back up plan THE MEN DROP DOWN BUT WE HAVE NO EVIDENCE YET STATING MRSH WAS WITH THE MEN AT THAT DESCENT MOMENT AND WE DO NOT KNOW THAT BECAUSE HE WAS TO TIE IN WITH ANOTHER AND THAT AREA FAILED HIM AND WE WATCHED AERIAL DROPS FAIL HIM–WE WERE LIKE WTF? THE AERIAL DROPPED RIGHT ON THEIR WORK? WE WATCHED IT. THE DROPS WERE TOO HIGH AND INACCURATE BEFORE NOON or apparently any regard for just how reckless his actions were.NOT ENOUGH INFORMATION PUBLIC YET TO MAKE THAT STATEMENT.

    4. His judgement was compromised by his BAC, I DO NOT THINK SO NOR DOES SONNY AND WE SAW HIM AND SONNY WAS AN OL MINER AND DRINKER SONNY IS WATCHING TV AND SEES PEOPLE TOASTING AND GETS UP AND MAKES TOAST WITH PEANUT BUTTER AND IN THE DAY A TOAST WOULD EVENTUALLY GET HIM TOASTED- HE STOP DRINKING LAST MONTH)(NOT ANYMORE) (AND NEVER ON THE JOB) BUT HAD WORKED WITH SOME BAD HANGOVERS IN HIS LIFE AND STILL DID A GOOD JOB. ambition, I THINK THERE IS MORE INFORMATION YET STILL TO SURFACE HERE AND I DO STRONGLY THINK STEED AND ASHCRAFT COULD OF HELPED ON THIS TOPIC IN ANSWERING SOME QUESTIONS. I ALWAYS FELT ROBERT CALDWELL HAD THE LOOK OF THE LOOKOUT AND THAT WOULD BE MORE HIS KIND OF THING— THAT WAS HOW I SAW ROBERT BUT I AM GUESSING WITH THE PROMOTIONS AND STUFF THAT GOT SKIRTED TO THE SIDE TO DO HIS POSITION TASKS…IF CALDWELL WAS ALIVE TODAY I THINK HE WOULD OF COMPLAINED ON CERTAIN AREAS AND POSSIBLY TEACH DONUT THE HILLBILLY WAY IS NOT THE WAY ON SUCH A SERIOUS TASK BUT FROM OUR VIEW DONUT WAS NOT EVEN SUPPOSE TO BE ON THAT HILL—HE WAS THAT SICK LOOKING THAT SONNY SAID THOSE MEN HAVE THE LOOK THAT THEY ARE ON THEIR DEATH MARCH—HOW CAN HE MAKE THAT STATEMENT–THATT CAME FROM LOOKING AT DONUT YET HE IS THE ONLY ONE WHO SURVIVED-ego,IN KNOWING SOME OF HIS FRIENDS—HE DID BUT HE LOVED THOSE MEN—HOWEVER STEED SEEM TO HAVE THE PLATFORM FOR THE ATTENTION FROM THEM AS I HEARD THAT AT JERSEY LILY WHEN MEN WERE TALKING AND I HAVE PHOTOS OF THAT MOMENT—TO LEARN SOME EITHER USE TO WORK WITH THEM OR KNEW THEM AND THEY WERE GETTING DRUNK IN THEIR HONOR AND I WENT UP TO THEM AND SAID WHAT WOULD HONOR THE 19 IS LET THE WORLD THAT MOURNED THEM KNOW THEM BETTER VERSUS THIS CLICHE OF PRIVATELY GETTING DRUNK IN THEIR HONOR– TELL US THE WORLD WHO THEY ARE— TOLD THEM ABOUT THIS SITE AND FIVE MINUTES LATER ONE CAME UP WHEN I WAS TALKING WITH RADIO HOSTS/DJ AND SONNY WAS WITH THE MAYOR AND SOME OTHER MEN AND HE SAID WHAT YOU SAID WAS RIGHT AND HE SAID HE LOOKED AT THE SITE BUT IT WAS NOT EASY TO FOLLOW OR NAVIGATE BUT ASKED ME WHAT I WANTED TO KNOW AND SO WE SAT FOR FOUR HOURS TALKING ABOUT THE MEN HE KNEW AND I THINK ONCE THESE PEOPLE “HUMANIZE” THESE PEOPLE TO THE WORLD LESS DISCUSSIONS ON “DRUG ADDICTIONS” AND MORE FOCUS TO AREAS OF REAL IMPORTANCE… and feeling of entitlement that the rules didn’t apply to himNOT ENOUGH INFORMATION OUT YET, that is to say, I believe the view that the rules are “hillbilly” came straight from him.I DOUBT IT That idiot ERIC MARSH TO BOTH OF US DID NOT APPEAR TO BE AN IDIOT—HE SEEM WELL REHEARSED FOR THOSE CONDITIONS AND THAT TERRAIN…IT SEEM EFFORTLESS FOR HIM TO MOVE UP AND DOWN AND ALL AROUND THAT MOUNTAIN. NEVER GETTING WINDED. SONNY SAYS MAYBE HE DID HAVE A SHOT OR TWO TO HELP HIM OUT THAT MADE HIM MOVE SO SMOOTH–and our hapless hero THE ONLY THING ON HIM IS THAT HE IS A YOUNG KID AND I WISH HE COULD OF OPENED UP PURELY YET SOMEONE MUST OF GOT IN HIS EAR EARLY ON BECAUSE I HAVE BEEN IN HIS PRESENCE BY CHANCE MANY TIMES AND EVEN ONE TIME AT THE BANK A WOMAN SAT TO NEXT TO US AND SAID HE WENT TO HER CHURCH AND EXPLAINED SHE DID NOT BUY EVERYTHING HE PUT OUT AND THAT SHE FELT HE OWED THE MEN TO OPEN UP FOR THEM NOT FOR SELF—didn’t make that up on his own as evidenced by Marsh’s prior behavior on the Clear Creek Fire and several other fires.PLEASE SHARE WITH SOURCE BEHAVIORS ON OTHER FIRES SO WE CAN LEARN MORE ABOUT ERIC MARSH

    Those are the reasons that pop into my head without giving it much thought which I would do if I were preparing the case against him, PRETEND YOU ARE—SPEND TIME LEARNING ABOUT HIM—LOOK INTO HIS EVALUATIONS AS I HAVE AND I THINK THEIR WAS ALOTOF POLITICS GOING ON WITHIN THIS UNIT/CREW AND SHOWS IN EVALUATIONS which is what we have basically been doing on this thread for months now. I DO NOT THINK ERIC MARSH HAS BEEN GIVING MUCH AIR TIME ON HERE. BREAK IT DOWN. CAN YOU CLOSE YOUR EYES AND LAY BACK AND TELL ME HOW AND WHEN THE GMHS BECAME A THOUGHT AND TRANSITIONED FROM STATION 7—CAN YOU TALK ABOUT ERIC’S EX WHO PLAYED A ROLE IN THIS—CAN YOU TELL ME ABOUT THE GMHS AND WHAT ROLE ERIC PLAYED IN IT? CAN YOU TELL ME DID HIS INJURY—INJURE HIS AUTHORITY ROLE AMONGST HIS MEN/CREW? DID STEED HAVE MORE PIZAZZ?

    Now…some of that is circumstantial at this point in time YOU BETbut the prisons are full of people who were put there on circumstantial evidence. TRUE AND EVEN INNOCENT ONES TOO …OFTEN HOWEVER THIS SITE SHOULD BE ABOUT BUILDING DOCUMENTED NFORMATION NOT BUILDING CIRCUMSTANCIAL OR MISJUDGEMENTS AS IT HAS DONE—

    Give me a few weeks with some special law enforcement authority from the Governor of ArizonaI THINK YOU WON’T GET ANYWHERE TOO MUCH THERE AS I SPOKE TO A HIGH END LAWYER WHO GOES UP AGAINST GOVT ENTITIES AND SOME OF THE COVER UPS TRINKLE AND BRANCH TO THOSE AREAS AND WELL LOOK AT ONE OF THE LAWYERS ON THE YHF—THINK IT WAS ONE OF OSHA’S USE TO WORK FOR THE ARIZONA ATTORNEY GENERAL—I THINK THAT WOULD BE CONFLICT OF INTEREST–
    , a stack of Garrity formsDO YOU THINK USING GARRITY WOULD AND CAN WORK? IT WOULD BE NICE BUT HAVE YOU ASKED FOR FOIA INFORMATION AND WERE DENIED? ANYTHING I EVER ASKED FOR I GOT AND REALLY FAST TOO, and some quality time with about half of the Prescott Department,WHY PRESCOTT DEPT BECAUSE YCSO HANDLES THIS AREA— especially those who are former GMIHC,I SEEM TO SEE THEM AT THE LOCAL PRESCOTT BREWERY SOME OF THEM BY CHANCE AND ONCE ON A PRESCOTT WALK/HIKE PLUS MY MANDO BY CHANCE HIKE… in addition to many of those who were on the YHF CALL CLIFF DUPUY AND DR LEROY ANDERSON AND I CAN LET YOU KNOW THEIR NUMBERS PRIVATE(plus a federal angle to work with federal employees) and I will give you a case that Marsh’s own parents would convict him on.DOUBT IT.

    Now usually when I say this stuff I include Jesse Steed along with Eric Marsh which is how it would have to be even though Steed was following orders from a supervisor who had a reputation for not tolerating subordinates who did not follow his orders well etc.CAN YOU PLEASE RESOURCE WHERE YOU COME TO THAT—LIKE LINK IT TO WHERE YOU READ IT OR LEARNED IT—THANKS

    And if I was the prosecuting attorney, I would say something like, “Marsh and Steed were playing Russian Roulette with 5 bullets in a six bullet cylinder with their crews lives that fateful day. During this trial I will tell you all of the reason why…and then I would do that….and then in my closing arguments I would list all of the reasons why Marsh and Steed played Russian Roulette with their crews lives… and lost.
    SONNY AGREES HERE— I OPT OUT FOR COMMENT.
    Reply

    Gary Olson says

    December 13, 2015 at 8:53 pm

    The prosecuting attorney would also have to argue that although Steed was technically the crew boss when the crew died, Marsh was still in reality the de facto crew boss and had never really surrendered his authority to directly supervise the crew to Steed, but I don’t think that would be hared to do.

    And I think that was probably in part what the “argument” was about. There is also the matter that the entire incident very well may have been initiated by Marsh’ determination to retake full control of the crew from Steed since he had been absent for several weeks due to his mountain biking related injury.I DO BELIEVE THERE IS MISSING ELEMENTS THAT CAN HELP GIVE MORE CLARITY HERE

    A good ole “head humping” to use a crude analogy from the canine world where one alpha male establishes dominance over another alpha male.

    This form of supervision is not unheard of in the testosterone fueled ego driven world of hotshot crews and not just by crew boss’. It is a technique that is favored by many all the way down finally stopping at the least important person on the crew, the second to the last shovel on the second squad which is where I served my first year on a hotshot crew. Apparently I did not initially impress them very much. So…I got my head humped a lot during my first year on a hotshot crew.
    I WISH EX GMHS WOULD CHIME IN HERE ON THI TOPIC—HELP HUMANIZE THIS TOPIC

    • Gary Olson says

      Joy,

      There are times when I feel like this is your first day of participating in this thread. You asked me, and I gave you my opinion. You can accept it or not.

      Needless to say, I disagree with every counterpoint you made but I am going to close by stating I did not refer to Eric Marsh as an idiot, I said “That idiot and our hapless hero didn’t make that up on his own as evidenced by Marsh’s prior behavior on the Clear Creek Fire and several other fires.”

      I think it is pretty clear that I was referring to Brendan McDonough was the person I was referring to, not Eric Marsh. I don’t think Eric Marsh was an idiot. I think he was a very smart man.

      • Gary Olson says

        And if it is not clear that is who I was referring to was Donut, I apologize for the confusion. I would never refer to Marsh as an idiot and Donut has earned his titles from me because of all of the really wrong things he has done in the aftermath of the YHF.

      • Joy A Collura says

        I don’t know if from day one either one of us Sonny or me have been fluent in our participation in all this (IM discussions) as far as reading and following the site 100% as I have said it many times from Fall 2013 when helping people rebuild, doing defensible spaces, putting water lines in or out and doing septics, clean up, listening to local bs because we go to this site–move on mentality, helping my normal elders and disabled in 5 towns, helping the homeless, and trailing with Sonny…via cell to “escape” the heat or heated times I came here to skim as I have always said—I am not one to read—I am oooooooooooooolllddddddddddd fashion and in person is the only balance I know looking another in the eyes…not an online kinda gal and so yes you are correct I chime in here and there and follow time to time but I bet by memory on prior comments I know who came here from day one so it is nice to see Rod Wrench and Larry S back—and always good to hear Sitta and I have his campfire site I went a couple times to but that place would require me sitting on my pc all day and placing the information there but I see Sitta is doing an excellent job as well as Gary and WWTKTT and Bob Powers and Marti so that is why when I am not on here I toss an email vs commenting and that is to avoid a certain person to please let me be a part of the shared photos— and then says they never go here and someone else informed them— come on– that person needs to be more straight to me for me to add them to photo giving list—

  5. WantsToKnowTheTruth says

    Reply to Rod Wrench post on December 13, 2015 at 7:42 pm

    >> Rod Wrench said…
    >>
    >> To wants to know: I guess we ran out of room above so I moved down here.

    And I have now ( in turn ) ‘moved it up here’. More room to continue.

    >> Rod Wrench said…
    >>
    >> I didn’t make Joy’s point at all and I never said that Marsh was
    >> not contacted by anyone to move the crew.

    Ah… okay… well then here is ( I think )7 where you got yourself in trouble.

    It was the use of the word ‘decision’ and the ‘limits’ you were putting on it, and ( it seems ) that’s when Joy chose to take exception at what you stated…

    On December 13, 2015 at 4:58 pm, Rod Wrench said…
    “The decision to leave the safety of the burn and choose the route thru the unburn to their so called new assignment or destination lays with Marsh and/or Steed, no one else.”

    Keywords: “decision” + “no one else”.

    It *seemed* as if you were IMPLYING that there was absolutely NO ONE ELSE involved in BOTH the IDEA to leave the black ( for some reason ) *and* (then) the actual DECISION to go ahead and do it via some chosen route.

    Two different things, actually.

    If we’re going to keep talking about this… I’ve always suggested we remember that there are THREE different actual ‘events’ here to talk about…

    1. The IDEA to ‘leave the black’. Was it just Marsh’s? Were OTHERS involved?
    2. The DECISION to ‘leave the black’. Just Marsh’s?… or was HE ‘ordered’ to do it?
    3. The CHOICE to take the route through the unburned fuel. Was Steed just TOLD to do it?

    We’ve always had IDEA, DECISION and CHOICE. 3 different ‘events’ to discuss.

    So Joy came back with…

    On December 13, 2015 at 5:52 pm, Joy A Collura said…
    “You are right but please SPEAK UP missing elements because there is more to it.”

    And then you took exception to THAT and said…

    On December 13, 2015 at 6:26 pm, Rod Wrench said…
    “There is no more to it!”

    Then you explained…

    “The individuals responsible for the safety of that crew were Marsh & Steed and the decision to leave the burn and take the shortest route to the ranch thru the unburn was theirs. The route thru the green was not ordered by any one else.”

    I AGREE with that statement… but I believe Joy was still just thinking you were trying to shut down any thought that the actual IDEA ( the ‘plan’, if you will ) to ‘leave the black’ didn’t involve anyone else but Marsh and Steed.

    Joy keeps telling us she absolutely KNOWS that ‘something else was going on’, and that she KNOWS who KNOWS and she keeps asking them to SPEAK UP.

    So that’s where she is coming from.

    Whether or not we will EVER hear from these people she keeps PLEADING with or whether we will ever learn what Joy seems to already KNOW… is anybody’s guess.

    But regardless… the public evidence record actually ALREADY totally supports all this, with or without Joy’s mysterious ‘people who know but won’t speak up’.

    There is just TOO MUCH EVIDENCE in the public record already to ignore the fact that ( despite what the SAIR said ) MANY people seemed to know GM was ‘on the move’… and exactly where they were going… and WHY… and they were DIRECTLY communicating with them WHILE they were ‘doing it’.

    Whether there were any actual ORDERS involved still remains to be seen.

    But as for that ‘pink ribbon’ that Sonny found up there on the ridge and your ‘point’ here that it was “no one else’s CHOICE but theirs to take that route through the unburned fuel”…

    …yea. I hear ya… and I think you’re right.

    Whatever else was going on… I think it’s totally ‘on them’ that they ever left that two-track which would have taken them right where they were trying to go, anyway, and might have still resulted in some desperate moments along that ‘trail / two-track’ as they headed EAST on it… but they would have had more options to stay alive if they’d only chosen “the other way”.

    Before we actually proved the exact TIME for the YARNELL-GAMBLE video ( 4:27 PM ) I was starting to think that this “Please HURRY UP” suggestion/directive that seemed to be aimed at Eric Marsh might have actually been WHY they decided to take what probably ‘looked’ like a ‘shortcut’ that afternoon.

    But with the proved time of 4:27 PM for the “Hurry up” directive and now the new testimony from Donut that Marsh was, in fact, out AHEAD of those men and basically just ‘ordered’ them to come the way he had marked ( with flagging )…

    …there just isn’t TIME for that “Hurry up” directive in the YARNELL-GAMBLE video to have been the major influencing factor for the route ‘chosen’.

    Eric Marsh must have tied that pink ribbon that Sonny found up there on the two-track many minutes before then… and Eric Marsh ( scouting ahead ) must have ALREADY ( prior to 4:27 PM ) made the decision that the crew WOULD be taking that ‘route’ through that box canyon filled with explosive fuel.

    We saw this exact procedure… and how they ‘do things’… in the morning.

    Marsh went ahead… tying pink ribbon/flagging on shit and ‘marking the way’, and God help Jesse Steed if he tried to ‘deviate’ from that ‘Eric Marsh approved chosen path’.

    That’s what got them all killed later that day.

    Robotic, patterned behavior with no room for ‘discussion’ or ‘deviation’.

    “Bad decisions with Good outcomes”. We do it all the time.
    We’re ‘Ranger Danger’. Today’s no different. Just another day on the job. Not to worry”.
    Shut up and follow the flagging.

    • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

      Followup…

      Just pointing out ( in case it wasn’t obvious reading above ), that once we PROVED that the exact TIME of the YARNELL-GAMBLE video was 4:27 PM… that means we hear Eric Marsh clearly giving that ‘status report’ on GM’s progress to someone just 12 short minutes before we would then hear Jesse Steed’s first frantic “We are in front of the flaming front!!!” MAYDAY call at 4:39 PM.

      So 12 minutes is just too SHORT of a time for whoever that person was that seems to be heard telling Marsh to “Hurry Up” in the YARNELL-GAMBLE video to have been the one influencing any ROUTE the men might have chosen.

      At 4:27 PM ( just 12 minutes before the first MAYDAY ), Steed and the crew MUST have already been well down into that blind box canyon full of explosive, unburned fuel.

      Someone had ALREADY ‘chosen’ and/or decided’ and/or ‘ordered’ them to be taking that fatal route.

      • Bob Powers says

        I think you all were trying to read to much into ROD’s statement.

        He was saying what I have said severial times no matter any of the other information even if Marsh and Steed were ordered by another person.

        THEY and ONLY THEY were responsible for the crews safety.

        Steed Had a choice to leave the black and take the SAFEST Route to tie in with MARSH. Marsh chose the shortest route and Steed took the Crew down a Brush filled canyon/Chimney knowing it was not the thing to do.

        Steed had already told overhead that they were committed to the black and that was accepted.
        Marsh told Steed to bring the crew down and after a discussion Steed moved the Crew.

        MARSH and STEED carried the responsibility for the crews death by not following the 10 and 18—LCES. Regardless of any other orders. They chose a short cut rather than stay where they were or a absolute save route that meet all the safety considerations.

        It was the DIVS and the Crew leaders responsibility and only theirs for the Safe Movement of the crew EVERY THING ELSE IS JUST ADDED INFORMATION.

        • Robert the Second says

          Bob,

          Thank you. Spot one.

          Everything else is attempting to display them as victims of ‘The System’ or whatever . They both, and especially Steed, abdicated their supervisory responsibilities to do the best they could to ensure the safety and health and welfare of their Crew.

          They killed their Crew.

  6. Robert the Second says

    I posted this in Chapter xviii as well, however, it’s more relevant here. It’s the US Fire Administration, NFPA, and FEMA report on “Firefighter Autopsy Protocol” dated March 2008. The link is below the article I posted the Alcohol and Drugs segment in the Fire Toxicology section.

    iii.4 Alcohol and drugs
    A relatively routine examination as part of any autopsy is an alcohol and drug screen .these analyses are provided as part of toxicology reports .toxicology reports in most autopsies document the positive and negative findings of a series of tests conducted to detect specific substances that may have caused death . Such tests commonly include tests for the presence of pharmacological agents and illegal drugs . Blood tests for the presence of ethyl alcohol are conducted to determine whether the deceased was under the influence of an intoxicating beverage at the time of death . in the case of fire victims, the toxicology report should include analyses of blood, urine, other body fluids, and tissues for the presence of combustion products and other toxicants and their biomarkers (see section below), as well as alcohol and drugs .

    it is extremely important that, in the determination of alcohol levels, the effects of postmortem changes and specimen storage be accounted for . Blood alcohol concentrations obtained at autopsy are valid until putrefaction begins . this may vary from several hours to a few days, depending on the environment . Most autopsy procedures recommend the addition of sodium fluoride at a concentration of 10 mg/ml of blood to the sample and the storage of the sample in a refrigerator . Considerations for evaluation of blood alcohol levels include

    ■ if the blood is analyzed soon after withdrawal or if the blood is kept in the refrigerator, results usually are reliable, even if no sodium fluoride has been added .
    ■ if the air space about the blood sample is large, alcohol can evaporate and a falsely low blood alcohol level can result .
    ■ Putrefaction changes before autopsy or during storage may cause a falsely high blood alcohol concentration . ethanol can be produced in the specimen container, usually in the absence of a preservative, as the fluoride inhibits bacteria far more effectively than fungi . higher fluoride concentrations are required for inhibiting fungal growth .13
    ■ Although there is no major difference in alcohol concentrations of blood samples from the intact heart chambers and the femoral vessels, autopsy samples from pooled blood in the pericardial sac or pleural cavity are unsatisfactory; blood should be withdrawn from peripheral vessels .
    ■ Blood alcohol concentrations vary from vitreous, urine, or tissue samples as compared to alcohol determined through stomach contents .these variations depend on whether blood alcohol concentrations were increasing or decreasing at the time of death .

    13 harper D .R . and J .e .l . Correy . “Collection and storage of specimens for alcohol analysis .” In Medicolegal Aspects of Alcohol, J .C . garriott, ed . Phoenix: lawyers and Judges Publishing Co ., 1997, pp . 145-169 .

    14 Caplan y .h ., “Blood, urine and other tissue specimens for alcohol analysis .” In Medicolegal Aspects of Alcohol, J .C . garriott, ed . Phoenix: lawyers and Judges Publishing Co ., 1997, pp . 74-86 .

    the principal drugs for analysis include those for common narcotics, barbiturates, amphetamines, hallucinogens, or cannabinoids .tests for other prescription and nonprescription drugs are performed occasionally to detect such compounds as common steroids, analgesics, and other indicators of coexisting illnesses/conditions, as well as of drugs used in emergency resuscitation attempts . Methods typically used in these analyses are described in table 2 .

    table 2. common methodologies for toxicological Analysis
    Technique
    Volatiles by Gas Chromatography (GC)
    Specific drug screening by Enzyme- Multiplied Immunoassay (EMIT)
    Specific drug screening by Enzyme- Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA)
    Drug screening by Thin-Layer Chromatography (TLC)
    General drug screening, identification, and quantification by High-Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC)
    Specific drug identification and quantifi- cation by Gas Chromatography linked to Mass Spectrometry (GC/MS)

    How Used
    Usually used for testing ethanol content; testing is applied as part of a general panel to detect and quantify numerous volatile compounds that include methyl, ethyl, and isopropyl alcohols and ketones. t-Butyl alcohol is used as an internal standard because it does not occur naturally.

    EMIT can detect but not quantify dependence drugs of abuse. Specific test panels are avail- able for cocaine metabolites, tricyclic antidepressants, barbiturates, cannabinoids, amphet- amines, opiates, and propoxyphene. The technique does not detect drugs at parts per billion (ppb) levels.

    ELISA uses antibodies as a more effective technique compared to EMIT (which it is supplant- ing). ELISA can detect drugs at ppb levels.
    TLC is used a general drug screen in lieu of EMIT and ELISA, which use panels for specific drugs.

    HPLC is used most commonly in place of TLC, given its greater sophistication and use of computerized compound matching. HPLC can be used as a general screening technique, but also has been configured for specific drug or substance analyses. HPLC is preferred for drugs that decompose in GC/MS injection procedures.

    GC/MS is now the preferred overall technique for analysis of specific drugs. Gas chromatog- raphy provides the separation of compounds in wet sample fluids while the mass spectrome- try provides the identification and quantification of each analyte using computerized matching compound libraries. Specific separation techniques must be applied to identify specific drugs.

    Advances are being made each year in progressively more capable and sensitive analytical equipment and procedures that can be applied to the analysis of substances in autopsy tissues and fluid samples. it is important to apply the most up-to-date techniques when conducting specific analyses for alcohol and drug levels . A number of references are provided at the back of the protocol on the subject of alcohol and drug testing .

    https://www.usfa.fema.gov/downloads/pdf/publications/firefighter_autopsy_protocol.pdf

    • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

      Reply to Robert the Second (RTS) post on December 13, 2015 at 9:34 am

      >> RTS said…
      >>
      >> I posted this in Chapter xviii as well, however, it’s more relevant here. It’s
      >> the US Fire Administration, NFPA, and FEMA report on “Firefighter Autopsy
      >> Protocol” dated March 2008. The link is below the article I posted the Alcohol
      >> and Drugs segment in the Fire Toxicology section.

      Thank you, RTS.

      Yes… most of that lines up with all the other information I’ve seen.

      The use of ‘stabilizing agents’ in the samples such as sodium fluoride ( and others ) is essential.

      Unfortunately, even the reports just released don’t even mention whether that industry standard was followed. I suppose we just need to ASSUME it was.

      It’s all about TIME here… the rate of decomposition… and the quality of the samples.

      Here is just one link online about it taking up to FIVE DAYS ( 120 HOURS ) for a post-mortem fermentation process to produce a BAC content as high as 0.08 g%, which amounts to ‘legally drunk’ in all 50 states.

      TWO of the Granite Mountain Hotshots ended up with BAC content readings of MORE than that ( 0.09 g% ) after only 19 hours and 47 ( less than even ONE day ) between ‘Time of Death’ and ‘Cadaver Stabilzation’ ( cold storage of the cadaver ).

      Fermentation in DUI Blood Tests
      http://losangeles.california-drunkdriving.org/blood_fermentation.html

      From the article…
      ————————————————————-
      Candida albicans, the most common microbial culprit of ethanol production in blood samples, can produce ethanol. Blume, Bacterial Contamination on BAC Stability, 60 American journal of Clinical Pathology 700 (1973). Specimens stored at room temperature for MORE THAN FIVE DAYS showed significant alcohol formation (up to 0.08 percent maximum) in a study by Chang arid Kollman, The Effect of Temperature on the Formation of Ethyl Alcohol by Candida Aihacans in the Blood, 34(1) JFSCA 105 (Jan. 1989).
      ————————————————————-

      I’m still researching this… but AFAICT… to have TWO samples of MORE than 0.08 g% BAC showing up in two bodies from the same incident, with matching circumstances and LESS than even 1 day before ‘stabilization’… and to have that be solely the result of post-mortem fermentation of alcohol… would be highly, highly UNUSUAL.

      Almost unheard of.

      More later.

      • Robert the Second says

        WTKTT,

        I agree with you logic on this issue with the GMHS. For the most part, those men with ethyl alcohol in their blood were unfit for duty that morning. And the decomposition argument is a Red Herring or Straw Man fallacy.

        • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

          “unfit for duty that morning”.

          Do we know who the DRIVERS were ‘that morning when they left Prescott?

          • Bob Powers says

            First thoughts

            Steed
            Whitted
            Carter

            They would be drivers as head Supervisors on the crew.
            Normally Marsh and Steed would be in the Superintendents truck..

            There were probably were a couple of others Licensed ????
            as backup drivers.

            • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

              This actually never got completely sorted out ( who was driving what that morning ).

              Kyle Dickman completely botched this part up in his book and doesn’t even really say who the ‘drivers’ were that morning, even though he had full access to Brendan McDonough when he was writing it.

              Both the GM Superintendent truck AND the Chase truck ended up parked way up there at the north end of the Sesame clearing, right at that point where that east-west two-track heads out to the old-grader. That’s where Cordes had the dozer put a 1-blade wide ‘ring’ around them in case the fire made a push… and Cordes actually thought that was going to help, or something.

              But what we still really don’t know for sure is if both of those vehicles ARRIVED up there at the same time.

              We actually still don’t know if Jesse Steed even drove out there along with Marsh immediately following that early ‘briefing’ at the Yarnell Fire Station.

              Assuming he DID… then that means Marsh was driving the Superintendent Truck ( alone ) that morning… and Steed was driving the GM Chase truck ( also alone )… and everyone else was in the Crew Carriers ( with still unknown ‘drivers’ ).

              But Whitted and Carter sound like ‘likely’ candidates for the ones driving the 2 Crew Carriers that morning.

              If I’m screwing this up… or forgetting something… someone please chime in.

  7. Gary Olson says

    WTKTT,

    Let me try this one more time. The “System” and you know who “They” are, don’t want to spend any money Congress doesn’t give them to determine whether people like Grant McKee are defective or not before they hire them.. And sometimes that is a good thing because you can work with people and make them better.

    A USFS Fire Management Officer by the name of Hub Harris saw some good in me when others would have sent me down the road kicking a can and he gave me a chance to get better.

    They are supposed to easily replaceable and disposable. It is just like when, not if, a minor part goes wrong with you late model automobile. You take it to the dealership and a technician, not a mechanic, a technician unplugs the faulty disposable part and throws it away.

    They don’ try to fix it or worry about where, or how, or why it failed…they throw it away and they go to the personnel certification list and they order up a replacement part that is there is a couple of days and they plug it in. No big deal and very cost effective.

    That is the system. It is a lot better than it was in my day. Back then, only the crew boss was a keeper, everyone else was catch and release. Nowadays there are supposed to be at least seven (I think) members of a hotshot crew that “They” and you know who they are, spend money on to keep.

    The breakdown comes because these people are like puppies (now don’t get all upset that I am comparing Mr. McKee to a dog) and the kids (their supervisors) who play with them get attached to them, and even when they should be returned to the pound because they are not trainable, or they have “issues” the system is not equipped to deal, but their supervisors don’t want to let them go because they have grown to love them in spite of their flaws.

    A hotshot crew can absorb a certain percentage of these individuals, and the number varies depending on how strong and capable others are, to pick up the slack, or how good and patient the supervisors are at building up their new charges, but you can’t afford too many of them. Some crews won’t accept any of them.

    I am not comparing Mr. McKee to a dog, but it is a dog eat dog world.

    • Gary Olson says

      Oh…and one more thing. Before he retired, Hub Harris became a Regional Fire God and one of the legends in my world of old fire dogs. A lot of people reading this blog know and have a great deal of respect for him…including me.

      • Gary Olson says

        And I hope Hub is not disappointed in me for my participation in this blog because if he is, that is a terrible way to pay him back for everything he did for me. It would however, be further proof that no good deed goes unpunished.

  8. Robert the Second says

    Relocating this post from former Hot Shot Superintendent Lance Honda to the top

    Lance Honda says
    DECEMBER 12, 2015 AT 5:40 PM

    I have read all the comments on this site and have read most of the articles, stories and as much information and opinions as I could find on this tragedy. The common thread that I see, and that I have seen in all the fatality and near miss fires and other tragedies/accidents I have studied and read up on, is the acceptance/common practice and habitual poor decision making at every position level, in too many situations on the job and in lifestyles affecting the job. The mix of poor decision making vs safe decision making was too uneven for too many times with too many people. Sounds like that pattern was fully imbedded in their culture and ti all came together on this incident at the worst possible time. My guess (that’s all it is ,given my ignorance of the intimacies of how the crew performed and how all the relationships and personalities worked on GMHS, Knowing the truth, the intimate truths will help some crews “family units” learn and incorporate, validate and/or improve safe solid practices. Some crews (families) will stay in the same rut and behave the same way they always have. We already know who those crews/teams/people are. The statement “chance favors the well prepared” is true. But a more accurate and complete statement is, we are more often more lucky than we are good in a dangerous environment doing dangerous work. Not sharing all the information we can, to give the most in depth picture we can will not help those willing and desiring to learn to keep next year’s fire fighters safe and whole, so that no one else’s family member will lose someone they love.

    No more body bags

    Reply

    • Robert the Second says

      And WTKTT’s reply to Lance Honda

      WantsToKnowTheTruth says
      DECEMBER 12, 2015 AT 8:27 PM

      Thank you, Mr. Honda.

      That’s an amazing summary of the ‘situation’ and all WFF should read it.

      It totally supports one of the ongoing ‘themes’ of this ongoing ‘discussion’…

      “There can be no TRUE understanding without first knowing the TRUTH ( all of it )”.

      Reply

      • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

        And ( also brought up from down below )…

        On December 9, 2015 at 10:59 pm, Robert the Second (RTS) said…

        “The search for truth implies a DUTY.
        One must NOT conceal ANY part of what one has recognized to be TRUE.”

        Albert Einstein

  9. Joy A Collura says

    Bob Powers

    you bring up something on this link:
    http://www.investigativemedia.com/please-begin-yarnell-hill-fire-chapter-xviii-here/

    to hear that you too lost a father in a fire and my question to you Bob—how long after losing your dad in such a way were you able to talk about it…public…I am so proud how well you share…you have educated us so much…do you remember the days I would say 10&18???? and have a defense stand that Marsh did nothing of err—look elsewhere with your 10 & 18…it took me forever to understand that…you really have taken the time to give us firefighting knowledge—THANK YOU!

    • Bob Powers says

      I was 9 I did not really comprehend how he died or how his body looked until I talked with my Step Dad when I was 17 it was hard for him to explain all I asked him But he was there.
      After that I could talk about it but most of the Fire people that knew me never really asked me and I started talking about it when I trained new FF on the Ten Standard Orders. It was quite a vivid training for them. I made every one for my 33 years that I trained memorize them where they could recite back to me each and every one. I think that is where I made it easy on my self.
      to talk about it. If that makes any since.

  10. Gary Olson says

    WTKTT said,

    “One of the other questions to ask here might also be… what was an ‘ex-alcoholic’ doing at the ‘Prescott Brewing Company’ the night before he died? What did he have to DRINK while he was there? Something like… gee… I don’t know… maybe… BEER?

    The person who had dinner with him would know.”

    And I say, that is one of the points I made in one of my emails to Karen Fann. There are however, some other people who know. I doubt that was the first time Eric Marsh and his wife had dinner or drank alcohol at the Prescott Brewery. I’m sure he was well known in that establishment as the hotshot crew boss.

    I think the people who were serving Mr. and Mrs. Marsh were talking about just how much Mr. Mash had to drink by the evening of June 30, 2013. And since then, lots more people have talked about the same thing (see Police Investigations Training Pre-work package for Police Investigations 101)

    Like I said before, those people in Prescott can keep secrets. I think the CIA should move their farm to “Everybody’s Home Town.”

    • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

      Additional information…

      1. Yes… the ‘Prescott Brewing Company’ was a known ‘watering hole’ for many of the Granite Mountain Crew.

      2. Granite Mountain crewmember Joe Thurston ( the one who suffered the bona-fide heat stroke that Saturday, June 29, but was still allowed to be on the crew roster the very next day for the Yarnell assignment ) used to WORK there.

      3. The ‘Prescott Brewing Company’ is the place that created a new, special BEER for the Granite Mountain Hotshots to ‘honor them’ following their deaths.

      • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

        Okay… correction.

        GM Hotshot Joe Thurston is the one who used to work at the ‘Prescott Brewing Company’… but it was GM Hotshot John Percin who actually suffered the heat stroke working the Mount Josh fire on Saturday, June 29, 2015.

    • Joy A Collura says

      topic.
      Prescott Brewery

      addendum. After the play done by Ered Matthews called THE FENCE Summer 2014 we went to Prescott Brewery and the waitress and waiter saw the tshirts and the crew shared on the play and Joanna Dodder and her husband were present and someone from Prescott Brewery when we were on topic of beers on tap and bottles- one staff member did state they had done a brew in their honor called Honor 19; an American brown ale and Pulaski Porter was at the Granite Mountain brewery. I remember the sales that came from those beers went to these GMHS charity—and also Chief Dan Fraijo received monies from same company as well in addition the beer sales. Joe Thurston worked there appx five to six years. Even Senator Jeff Flake all the way in WA wanted to get his hands on this beer-
      The very important part was when I went to the bathroom in the hall I saw either waiter/one who cleans tables weeping. I was semi dolled up that night not looking like my desert rat self and I looked into the eyes of this person and said “I wonder how one can ever heal— it don’t seem possible —” the person looked me direct back in my eyes as he took his forearm and swiped his face and said “thank you for not asking or speaking but just being here so I was not alone as I felt this; I miss him a lot”— it was very very unlike a person to say that if you saw him. I saw him another time as I left a medical massage on the street and he went out of his way to say hello to me first as right beyond him 20 yards was Mando and Donut and other men of that like age walking and I actually gave a curtsy hi to Mando but Donut would not look at me at all. I had to be somewhere so I hurried on. So I know Congress/Yarnell are a small community but I can just imagine Prescott on a little bigger scale but still everyone knows everyone kind of thing…so when we talk about the Prescott Brewery I can only think of the deep pain of that young man and how this aftermath had him so choked and in a spot so maybe I can ask you Gary—what is the importance where one ate a meal the night before they died? I mean in Congress your choices are Nichols West or Arrowhead Bar— what I saw that Summer 2014 was a rare unique love from a young man for the loss of his friend almost like a friendship of the decade 1940’s young lad to lad so I can only imagine immediate family and talking on this—I saw it on the other link and again here so for my weak broken heart right now please tell what’s the importance of location he ate…and again like Claire said after the hard two weeks—what’s a beer—shit I just want to know if we can rest on where a person ate—I guess I am sounding like you Grant Scott McKee right now when I say—it does not bring these men back but talk like this I must ask- can it rest or get to your point than let it rest—
      curtsy bow to you sir.

      • Gary Olson says

        Well…I will be more than happy to tell you. There is no such things as an ex-alcoholic. There are only alcoholics who war drinking and those who are not….some of them for decades.

        As I have said before, I actually know a great deal about the frailties of the human mind from personal experiences and about the difficulties of overcoming addition.

        When I am on one of my hundreds of inconclusive diets, I won’t say unsuccessful, I will say inconclusive, because I have always been able to surprise people with my physical abilities in spite of my size…and I still can at 62. And I can still put fear into most men’s eyes when the situation calls for it.

        That being said, when I am on one of my many inconclusive diets, I purposely DO NOT go into the Cheesecake Factory and other such establishments just to test my will power.

        I don’t care where Eric Marsh ate dinner. I only care about the fact that Eric Marsh was still under the influence of alcohol the following day when he killed his crew due to the poor decisions he made and I am convinced that was related to where he ate dinner.

        Like I have said many times before, there is ABSOLUTELY no doubt in my mind that had Eric Marsh survived the Yarnell Hill Fire, he would have met every criteria in the book to be charged and convicted of manslaughter.

        If there is any law enforcement or legal professional out there who disagrees with me who is reading this blog, I would love to hear from you and why you think I am wrong.

        Any more questions on the subject?

        • Joy A Collura says

          oh— I understand now—from a supervisor role—got it

          one of the hardest thing in this is I am LOCKED on he was the scout/lookout that day not the man in charge of the men—sorry

          ignorance on my part.

        • Gary Olson says

          At least 17 COUNTS of manslaughter.

          Joy…an alcoholic was eating dinner at a BREWERY!

          And he had a high BAC the next afternoon that no one will ever convince me came from fermentation that early in the process since so many did not have any BAC.

          • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

            And… just like every member of the Granite Mountain CREW that had been DISMISSED from any/all current fire assignments at what we NOW know was circa 6:30 PM that Saturday…

            …Marsh was ALSO under the FULL impression that he had a FULL DAY OFF the next day ( as in… don’t even have to get UP at any certain time ) while he was sitting there in that BREWERY having dinner with his beautiful wife…

            …until his PHONE RANG ( Circa 8:30 PM… During dinner ).

            So even Marsh had been SURE he didn’t have to get up the next day for at least 2 full hours before he suddenly learned that Russ Shumate had totally fucked up his all-day-long-with-40-firefighters-at-his-disposal Initial Attack down near some town called Yarnell.

          • Joy A Collura says

            people said I put Eric Marsh on this unique pedestal by what I saw that day even people who I hiked who knew the man and yet I said what I saw and that is others perceptions the pedestal part but if he was in a supervisor role and not the scout lookout as I saw him…I need to read up and understand the situation better because in my ignorant way of thinking I thought because Eric was mainly away from the men that Steed was present with crew and in charge of the men and Eric was scouting areas out as I saw him. How can it be manslaughter for 17 if he was not much near them that day? The more reason his cell records as I stated from day one is IMPORTANT because if I have evidence and publicly show Marsh not with men than he had to communicate with them either by radio or cell phone…so I do stand firm from day one the cell phone records hold a lot of missing elements that can maybe educate you Gary from hopping on the band wagon on saying manslaughter—or help me comprehend??? I am not understanding. I think the missing elements could help out here though.

            SPEAK UP!

            • Sonny says

              Here I ought to add to what Joy said and believe Marsh was more acting in a look out role than Donut and one wonders why Donut did not hike back up the two track to get into the black so he could continue to look out for the men from the high altitude where we were along the two track. That was at the time after 11 also the best position to be watching the progress of the full blown wildfire progress and still be safe enough to escape its reversal.

              It seems that Donut was abandoned and as Holley Neil reported Marsh was already in the Helms vicinity scouting and would meet up with his men when he saw that the fire was reversing and about to overtake them That was known by some of the other bosses that they were coming down to the ranch via the death bowl. They must have known of the weather warnings as well as that a back burn had been started above the Shrine and perhaps below the Helms, though there is no evidence yet of the latter even though we know a bulldozer had crushed a retaining wall on that north edge of Glen Isla. I say along with Joy that it bears out Steed stood to stop his men and likely Marsh was some distance away when they descended from the two track. So the deaths of those men lie on more than one set of shoulders and I wonder if evidence will not include a few beside those of Steed and Marsh.

              See when Joy wanted to go down that direction along the edge of that bowl earlier on I knew it was not an option and that judgement was just by common sense. I knew nothing of firemen’s safety rules, but that decisiont has sinse been backed up by top wild land firefighters, smoke jumpers of long experience and savy fire death investigators. Rick McKinsey, long time resident and cowboy, warned them not to get caught in that thick manzanita earlier in the day near Mountaineer. They definitely had to be seeing the raging wild fire from the two track and had to know that it was a damn risky proposition and against all common sense and their own rules of engagement to descend into that entanglement of thick brush. It behooves every wildland firefighter to understand what could have overcome their hesitation to do the unthinkable. These gag orders and cover ups and lack of investigation bring us to suspicion that the truth of what really happened is not wanted to be know by certain individuals. What are they worried about loosing? Certain the hot shots did as they were ordered by their two immediate superiors, namely Eric and Jesse. They strictly followed those orders to their death as any good soldier would. But this was not a war in the sense that they had to do foolish action and follow foolish orders. So despite all the blame their bosses shoulder they allowed themselves to march where they should not have gone. I wonder if some knew the risk yet feared to resist. These are just some of the reasons that area needs to be set aside as a training area. Find out how long it takes to go that last 600 yards through thick manzanita with 19 men and other options available like getting to the boulder area for 70 yards and into its football sized clearing. So much can be learned there that will save future wildland fighters if they know these things.

            • Rod Wrench says

              Joy, Eric Marsh was the Division Supervisor and the GMHS were assigned to his division. That makes him responsible for the activity & duties assigned to that crew and any other resources assigned to his division. All though he was not performing as the GMHS superintendent you can bet the farm he stayed in touch & and had a hand in their every move. I don’t believe he had a large number of resources assigned to his division other then his crew so his attention was most likely directed to his crew activity. As a former HS superintendent Ive been there and had to perform the duties of a Div. Sup. many times with my crew assigned to my division.
              Now Steed being directly in charge of the crew had the same responsibility as Marsh but only to his crew, to insure the assigned duties given to his crew were performed efficiently and SAFELY accomplished.
              The decision to leave the safety of the burn and choose the route thru the unburn to their so called new assignment or destination lays with Marsh and/or Steed, no one else. Both men had the ultimate responsibility to know the fire behavior effecting the division they were assigned to and to make their decisions base on the present and predicted fire activity. There was absolutely no hurry to leave the safe zone of the burn. The fire activity was dictating every move. I hope this explains & clarifies the role of both individuals.

                • Sonny says

                  you are right but Marsh at one point said he was content in the black when asked to help BR. So wouldn’t that indicate he had some pressures from somewhere to go to the ranch?

                  • Rod Wrench says

                    There is no more to it! The individuals responsible for the safety of that crew were Marsh & Steed and the decision to leave the burn and take the shortest route to the ranch thru the unburn was theirs. The route thru the green was not ordered by any one else. You must understand that these two GMHS supervisors and one acting as the Division Supervisor had all the authority in the world to reject or delay their crews movement from the safety of the burn.

                    • Joy A Collura says

                      WISH WE DID NOT—BUT WE KNOW THERE IS MORE—

                      MISSING DETAILS…

                      speak up.

                      oops I had caps on and just looked up

                    • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

                      Reply to Rod Wrench post on
                      December 13, 2015 at 6:26 pm

                      >> Rod Wrench said…
                      >>
                      >> The route thru the green was not
                      >> ordered by any one else.

                      Probably not. The ‘tactical’ aspects of the move ‘out of the black’ was, indeed, up to the ‘boots on the ground’.

                      Even in the YARNELL-GAMBLE video, shot at exactly 4:27 PM, we (supposedly) hear that still-unnamed person telling Marsh on the radio that it would be “nice if you could make it town a little faster… but you’re the supervisor… you’ll figure it out”.

                      In other words… “I don’t care HOW you get here FASTER… just get here FASTER”.

                      Just that YARNELL-GAMBLE video alone seems to have always been proof, all by itself, that there WAS some kind of ‘plan’ that had been set in motion and there were now both STRATEGIC aspects ( the reason for moving ) *and* TACTICAL aspects ( how the move is made ).

                      >> Rod Wrench also said…
                      >>
                      >> You must understand that these
                      >> two GMHS supervisors and one
                      >> acting as the Division Supervisor
                      >> had all the authority in the world
                      >> to reject or delay their crews
                      >> movement from the safety of
                      >> the burn.

                      “reject or delay”

                      You just made Joy’s point.

                      You just implied yourself that there might very well have been some ‘request from above’ involved with this ‘movement from the safety of the burn’.

                      Watchout #19
                      * DEATH FROM ABOVE
                      – OVERHEAD ( Supervisors )
                      etc.

                    • Woodsman says

                      Wrench said:

                      “There is no more to it! ”

                      With all do respect, I believe there IS more to it. The decision to leave the black and a heck of a lot of other details as well……….so I’m going to keep investigating.

                      Woodsman

                    • Woodsman says

                      Wrench:

                      Maybe you mean the decision of the exact route into the bowl to get to the ranch? Or the decision to leave the black at all.

                      Woodsman

                    • Robert the Second says

                      Rod,

                      I’m going to support most of what you have to say and disagree on some details. Let’s just say, I know where you’re coming from. I’ve been there and done that, as they say.

                      Rod Wrench says
                      DECEMBER 13, 2015 AT 4:58 PM

                      “… Eric Marsh was the Division Supervisor and the GMHS were assigned to his division. That makes him responsible for the activity & duties assigned to that crew and any other resources assigned to his division. …”

                      A DIVS can direct and request that his Division resources, I.e. GMHS in this case, perform activities and duties, HOWEVER, it is up to the Single Resorce Boss, I.e Jesse Steed, to actually implement those activities and duties requested by the DIVS IF AND ONLY IF they are SOUND, SAFE! Steed could have and should have said “NO” and provided an option, like remaining in the black.

                      “Now Steed being directly in charge of the crew had the SAME responsibility as Marsh but only to his crew, to insure the assigned duties given to his crew were performed efficiently and SAFELY accomplished.”

                      Steed actually had MORE (not the same as Marsh) responsibility and yes, only to his Crew. IF the assigned duties given to his Crew were sound and safe, THEN AND ONLY THEN, could/should he insure those orders were performed efficiently and SAFELY. However, in this case, those orders were NOT sound and/or safe.

                      We are told to follow orders UNLESS they are illegal, immoral, unethical, or UNSAFE. The order(s) we’re clearly NOT safe and Steed knew the order was NOT safe or sound. Instead of directly telling Marsh that, he used what’s known as ‘Mitigating Speech’ or hinting when he kept telling him “were in the black,” and describing the fire activity and the location of the fire in the McKenzie video clip.

                      Reply
                      Rod Wrench says
                      DECEMBER 13, 2015 AT 6:26 PM

                      ” … The individuals responsible for the safety of that crew were Marsh & Steed and the decision to leave the burn and take the shortest route to the ranch thru the unburn was theirs. The route thru the green was not ordered by any one else. You must understand that these two GMHS supervisors and one acting as the Division Supervisor had all the authority in the world to reject or delay their crews movement from the safety of the burn.”

                      AGREED for the most part, however, it was up to Steed to refuse, with a safer option, to STAY IN THE BLACK! He was in a quandary there – (1) follow the order, even though he knew it was unsafe and untenable (‘we’re not going to make it’ or ‘we can’t make it.’) OR (2) refused the order, with the option of staying in their perfectly good SZ, and getting his ass chewed or whatever later.

              • Woodsman says

                Wrench said:

                “The decision to leave the safety of the burn and choose the route thru the unburn to their so called new assignment or destination lays with Marsh and/or Steed, no one else.”

                Are you sure that no one else played a role in the decision to leave the black? 100% sure? How do you know this???

                Woodsman

            • Gary Olson says

              Manslaughter in Arizona is caused when a person:

              “Causes the death of another through recklessness.”

              I believe that Eric Marsh’s actions pertaining to moving the GMIHC out of the black meets the very definition of recklessness.

              1. He moved the crew without authorization thereby creating a situation where no one else knew what he was doing. When things went horribly wrong, everyone thought they were still safe in the black.

              2. He was disingenuous (he lied) when he reported his intentions, the crews location, their direction of travel and their intent on the radio.

              3. He violated almost all of the safety rules simultaneously without a back up plan or apparently any regard for just how reckless his actions were.

              4. His judgement was compromised by his BAC, ambition, ego, and feeling of entitlement that the rules didn’t apply to him, that is to say, I believe the view that the rules are “hillbilly” came straight from him. That idiot and our hapless hero didn’t make that up on his own as evidenced by Marsh’s prior behavior on the Clear Creek Fire and several other fires.

              Those are the reasons that pop into my head without giving it much thought which I would do if I were preparing the case against him, which is what we have basically been doing on this thread for months now.

              Now…some of that is circumstantial at this point in time but the prisons are full of people who were put there on circumstantial evidence.

              Give me a few weeks with some special law enforcement authority from the Governor of Arizona, a stack of Garrity forms and some quality time with about half of the Prescott Department, especially those who are former GMIHC, in addition to many of those who were on the YHF (plus a federal angle to work with federal employees) and I will give you a case that Marsh’s own parents would convict him on.

              Now usually when I say this stuff I include Jesse Steed along with Eric Marsh which is how it would have to be even though Steed was following orders from a supervisor who had a reputation for not tolerating subordinates who did not follow his orders well etc.

              And if I was the prosecuting attorney, I would say something like, “Marsh and Steed were playing Russian Roulette with 5 bullets in a six bullet cylinder with their crews lives that fateful day. During this trial I will tell you all of the reason why…and then I would do that….and then in my closing arguments I would list all of the reasons why Marsh and Steed played Russian Roulette with their crews lives… and lost.

              • Gary Olson says

                The prosecuting attorney would also have to argue that although Steed was technically the crew boss when the crew died, Marsh was still in reality the de facto crew boss and had never really surrendered his authority to directly supervise the crew to Steed, but I don’t think that would be hared to do.

                And I think that was probably in part what the “argument” was about. There is also the matter that the entire incident very well may have been initiated by Marsh’ determination to retake full control of the crew from Steed since he had been absent for several weeks due to his mountain biking related injury.

                A good ole “head humping” to use a crude analogy from the canine world where one alpha male establishes dominance over another alpha male.

                This form of supervision is not unheard of in the testosterone fueled ego driven world of hotshot crews and not just by crew boss’. It is a technique that is favored by many all the way down finally stopping at the least important person on the crew, the second to the last shovel on the second squad which is where I served my first year on a hotshot crew. Apparently I did not initially impress them very much. So…I got my head humped a lot during my first year on a hotshot crew.

  11. Joy A Collura says

    Anyone who read the start back of Fall 2013 -you will know I said Eric Marsh and Grant McKee were the only two that did not look spent and Tex agreed- Eric ran up and down the mountain like that was his thing and Grant even though he had these rosey red areas to his face (could be a symptom of one of the meds and being in direct sun) and pebbling of sweat on his forehead he did not look like the others (spent) and he stood out to me because as I showed Grant’s dad in my home with my family and Tex present his eyes reminded me of the Collura family— Grant, he is more a hero than one would know — but the more the loved ones speak up the more you can SEE that is facts— yes he did not want the GMHS dream long term and yes the health he hid should of never got him that position more than likely but to me he proved how elite and well earned his spot on team and he was and is as he carry ons still and that is the only business the public needs on the topic but the pharmaceuticals that was on this report which I cannot read yet but reading comments hereby others I am not shocked — I stand by saying this —what appears on the reports does not necessarily mean what all are dissecting but thank you deeply as loved ones share here than you will note it is personal and it is private and people do want to speak up but its hard because it is personal and it is private — thank you for the ones who have shared though—
    Remember this.
    What has happened in my health journey and Sonny’s and what happen on the YHF; NO ONE is immune. When I got the email as POA to take Sonny off life support I was like huh?
    All the above does require change— change in behaviors — we have presented concerns and issues here and if you do not want the issues- cancel your subscription and as you said you are doing move on and get the support you need to help you on the times when something stinks that does not fit your grief healing process- you can deal with it healthier and do not visit this site if it offends you because for decades after people will still be discussing the YHF and its aftermath. If we do not address and look under all stones then we have a more serious problem that continues to be undiagnosed and untreated and I do my tests for my health and know where I am at but I have not surrendered yet to allow a doctor help me because I am in spot I am due to that field not by my sole actions and journey. We all have a huge stake in this fight may it be the YHF or our own health journeys— it is insidious that every 33 seconds someone is having a heart attack and all you see is docs handing patients pills like sweettarts when people need to see if their fibrinogen are elevated, look at crp levels, treadmill test, look at your warning signs—has it gone undetected? is it multiple factors? is it a combination of the two?
    SEE NO EVIL SPEAK NO EVIL HEAR NO EVIL will not make changes and hence WHY I stress the IMPORTANCE of sharing and SPEAKING UP…denying it as well…some I hiked with said they had brain tumors and had surgery and they are okay…I
    am not a proper candidate for that folks. I have had a lot of my vital organs debrided from an ischemic episode even lost my breasts and my colon is reattached. I do not heal well. My protein in urine is abnormally dangerously high as well as my ascorbate is abnormal— the urine was foamy cloudy and high of bacteria and epithelial cells squamous and as well mucus high with a proper clean catch mid stream urine sample— the areas in my kidneys scarred cannot filter the blood efficient and will eventually fail as I was doing dialysis years ago and stopped it and began a renal diet (do you know WHY I stopped it—I sat in a room with others and they would blah blah blah their lives and their health and I thought shit I don’t need to be in a room with like others hearing their shit because I cannot even deal with my own so I stopped )—I have very high specific gravity. my leukocytes are high, says I am undesirable in many areas of my results and a dozen abnormals and HIGH and impaired glucose tolerance—so I have a right to the way I feel of not paying a doc to help me because they got me here so I need to do my own research my own tests (good areas to begin are direct labs . com or therano where YOU order without a doc any test you want for YOU until you establish a primary you trust ) and I am very alkaline so that is a plus- but being a blood type 0 makes my stomache acid higher and carbs in type blood 0 carbs get turned into fat and triglycerides so it is important to go to the online labs I just mentioned and learn your blood type because I am having unwanted inflammation and auto immune concerns— my cancer markers still keeps me in cardio risk as well as my vascular has odd clotting that is felt and visible yet I am proud they are 30 lower than lest time and I am eating mainly alkaline and proper supplements…my cancer markers came back stating I need further screening for ovarian and breast and kidney and my other scans and thermograms support that- My estradiol is 175.2. Pretty high. My eGFR use to be 33 and now is much higher but still falls in kidney damage level. I do not drink alcohol but tests for cirrhosis is clear (alt/ast) —I have had biopsies done in the past…I have 2 brain tumors…growths in chest wall and breast area…throat…tongue and a new growth 2 inches above my right ear—may be vascular clot vs tumor though— It is IMPORTANT to show HOW every area is IMPORTANT even reports because there is IMPORTANT information in them that needs to be followed up on, such as proof positive that important items of ‘evidence’ ( electronic devices ) weren’t just ‘lost out at the deployment site’. Tampering with evidence is a FELONY. So yea… this is going to be a ‘bumpy ride’ as I just rewrote another’s words. It is going to get a LOT worse before it gets better. I was in 2015 informed by authority legal position that he was going to instruct me to stop having direct communication with one… but he was in NO WAY going to instruct me to not talk about her HUSBAND… or about Yarnell and its fire in general. That man called Yarnell “One of those National-level tragedies that everyone remembers where they were
    when they first heard the news”… and he also acknowledged the fact that he CANNOT ‘instruct’ anyone to NOT discuss the incident, the people involved, and what may or may not have taken place and the ones grieiving would just have to “learn to live with that”. I will not give up on all affected by the YHF even if people want to vent—I say VENT—tee it up—I will not allow my tax dollars to support this WFF if they keep fighting fires like such and I watched that day on the mountains and I stand firm those men should of never ever died- I strongly suggest Christian Wilde’s book on the heart–a stem cell program is available.—Heart Sciences Center (Dr Nabil Dib)—in closing get these tests done: 1. hs-crp 2. fibrinogen 3. plaque 2 Plac 2 4. apolipoprotein APO A/B ratio 5. plasma viscosity (PV blood test 6. Homocystein 7. Gout 8. .LP (little a) ..any heart need questions call Christian Wilde yourself at 818 506 7889.

    I do hope by me sharing my health helps the smokejumpers who listened to John MacLean speak about on the hikers and prior fires and it concerned some that they reached out and apologized to me and helps him speak in future speaking engagements. Also help people understand me who I helped freely all these years—I mean I DID it—hard labor—digging…cleaning…clearing…defensible space…this event did not deserve recognition or accolades but it is important for the loved ones offended that until the day I pass on I will keep reaching clarity and help others in need—I am the “voice” for so many locals that can’t be because it is a small town and look at what division happened to PATTY AND SONS by her son being honest—we are a smaller community than Prescott– loved ones— and we have lost more than 19 men in the aftermath to YHF and that should of never happened—do you care about OUR losses in this tiny town? This whole thing should of never happened and I will die with that belief as the EYEWITNESS to the YHF.

    • Joy A Collura says

      that by the way is not all my health stuff…my worst spot that requires daily attention is my lymphatic system…etc…but you get my jist…with all that I come here and share what I know to help properly assess this fire vs saying this aint my fucking problem– I alerted people on the ridge— even saved lives that day—the rest is someone else’s problem—but I didn’t—been here always- and will remain.

    • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

      Reply to Joy A Collura post on December 12, 2015 at 12:31 pm

      >> Joy A. Collura said…
      >>
      >> Grant, he is more a hero than one would know

      If you are referring to the ‘pill addiction’ that he fought all through his high school years, and seemed to have ‘slayed that dragon’… then yes… that’s HARD TO DO for anyone.

      Former Hotshot Kyle Dickman detailed Grant Mckee’s ‘pill addiction’ in the book he published, and it is assumed he had the permission of ‘family members’ to do that.

      From page 17 of Kyle Dickman’s book “On the Burning Edge”…
      ——————————————————————————
      Grant McKee grew up latchkey kid in Orange County, California. His home life was rocky and he started taking pills in high school.

      Unhappy with his life’s direction, he moved to Prescott as a sophomore in high school to live with his aunt and uncle, Linda and David Caldwell, and his older cousins, Bob and Taylor.

      NOTE: Yes… the same Robert Caldwell who because a Squad leader for Granite Mountain. Grant Mckee was, in fact, Robert Caldwell’s cousin and they died together in Yarnell.

      Still, even in a more stable home, it took Grant a couple of years to straighten out.

      He had to repeat his junior year of high school.

      Eventually, he stopped abusing pills, and even went on to use his own experience to teach Drug Abuse Resistance Education.
      ——————————————————————————

      >> Joy A. Collura said…
      >>
      >> but the more the loved ones speak up the more you can SEE that is
      >> facts— yes he did not want the GMHS dream long term and yes the
      >> health he hid should of never got him that position more than likely

      A prior history of addiction might not have immediately disqualified Grant ( or anyone ) from becoming a City of Prescott employee… but I believe it is something that would definitely have to be ‘declared’ on the ‘medical history’ section of any municipal government job application, especially if one had ever actually been ‘under treatment’ for it.

      ADOSH did not request the full personnel files for ALL of the GM crew.

      They only requested the full personnel files for the GM overhead… Marsh and Steed.

      So there is no document to reference to see if Grant actually did mention his history of drug abuse when he applied for that job with the City of Prescott.

      If he did NOT… then that’s a big red flag, especially when it comes to INSURANCE concerns on the part of the City of Prescott.

      >> Joy also said…
      >>
      >> but to me he proved how elite and well earned his spot on team and he
      >> was and is as he carry ons still and that is the only business the public
      >> needs on the topic

      Well… actually… ‘the public’ was actually ‘his employer’ ( City of Prescott ), and the question of whether his prior history of drug abuse was listed on his actual job application ( or not ) is something that probably needs to be looked at.

      If he DID declare it… and it WAS supposed to be a ‘disqualifying criteria’ for the desired position… but he ended up being hired, anyway…. then that’s a ‘big red flag’ for the City of Prescott and the GM organization.

      In other words… if someone in Prescott “pulled some strings” and got him hired to a position for which he actually should not ‘qualified’ for… that’s a no-no, to say the least.

      >> Joy A. Collura also said…
      >>
      >> but the pharmaceuticals that was on this report which I cannot read yet
      >> but reading comments hereby others I am not shocked — I stand by saying
      >> this —what appears on the reports does not necessarily mean what all are
      >> dissecting.

      I understand. The drugs showing in his system could have been part of some legitimate ‘treatment’ regime… and not any evidence of any continuing ‘addictions’… but I’m certainly not qualified to determine that just by looking at what the toxicology report says.

      • Bob Powers says

        A little clarification here Pre Hire USFS all Fed. Jobs.
        Pre hire Physical by a Doctor. Also includes a Uren test for drugs.
        If you are taking any drugs under prescription you must have a Doctors
        Note.
        Especially those that Grant was taking if prescription would have not allowed him to work while on them.
        Or he was playing a game to not get caught by his crew or supervisors..
        Still a question as to the mixture of them if they were Prescription??????

        • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

          I’m pretty certain ( but not 100 percent positive ) that any applicant for a job with the City of Prescott ( the parent ‘company’ of the Prescott Fire Department ) has to undergo a physical as well… especially if the position sought, is in fact, with the Prescott Fire Department ( Wildland Division or otherwise ).

          If for no other reason… it would be for INSURANCE purposes.

          And that is part of the discussion here now as to whether there were ‘underlying medical conditions’ that might explain some of the toxicology results ( and not just for rookie Grant McKee ).

          There are INSURANCE related issues here.

          When former GM Hotshot.Renan Packer had his ‘seizure’ during the 2013 season, on the Thompson Ridge fire, it turned out it was NOT related to an ‘underlying medical condition’ that he knew he had.

          According to Kyle Dickman ( page 46 of his book )…

          At sixteen… Renan Packer contracted the ‘West Nile virus’ and developed neurological complications related to the pathogen. The symptoms– deafness, paralysis, and seizures– left him in a wheelchair for two months during his freshman year of high school.

          But this ‘seizure’ on the 2013 Thompson Ridge fire was just a fatigue seizure, and he got over it.

          But that was IT for him as far as returning to the crew.

          Alson in Kyle Dickman’s book… he says that Eric Marsh is the one who had to drive Renan Packer from the hospital where he was taken during the Thompson Ridge fire and back to Prescott… and it was during that drive that Marsh had to tell him he couldn’t rejoin the crew because of City of Prescott ‘Insurance concerns’… but he said he’d see what he could do to get Brandon a job on the Prescott ‘wood chipping’ squad.

          From page 137 of Dickman’s book…
          ———————————————————————-
          During the drive back to Prescott, Eric Marsh and Renan Packer talked about the potential of Renan’s returning to the hotshots. It wasn’t possible that summer. Given his PAST, Renan presented too great a liability for the City of Prescott., but depending on how his recovery went over the next few weeks, Marsh offered him a chance to work on the chipping crew.
          ———————————————————————-

          NOTE: Renan Packer himself ended up one of Kyle Dickman’s primary ‘sources’ of information for that book he wrote about Yarnell and the GM Hotshots.

          Renan Packer actually had no intentions of telling Eric Marsh about his medical history when he was being interviewed for a spot on the GM crew.

          Again… according to Dickman’s book ( page 47 )…
          ——————————————————————–
          During the job interview, Eric Marsh asked Renan Packer…
          “What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever been through?”
          Renan paused for a moment.before answering. He never intended to bring up the illness. He hadn’t relapsed in years, and the doctors didn’t think his fighting fires would pose a danger to him or the crew.
          “The two months I spent in a wheelchair”, said Renan.
          He told the whole story.
          ( Later )… Renan was working as a valet attendant at a Scottsdale golf resort when Marsh called to tell him he wasn’t getting the job.
          Marsh judged the risk to be too great– too much LIABILITY for the City of Prescott and the crew.
          A week after that, one of Granite Mountain’s top applicants accepted another job. Renan was again parking cars at the golf course when he got another call, this time from Jesse Steed.
          “How would you like to be part of the crew?”, he asked.
          Renan danced a celebratory jig.
          ——————————————————————–

          So first the LIABILITY is too much for the City of Prescott because of Renan’s ‘underlying illness’… then suddenly it isn’t ( when they are shorthanded )… then after a non-illness related seizure on the Thompson… Renan is ‘TOO MUCH LIABILITY’ again and he gets tossed into the wood chipper (crew).

          But the underlying theme here is LIABILITY.

          If you do NOT declare an ‘underlying medical condition’ on your job application… and something happens… well… that’s when a lot of lawyers end up taking each other to lunch.

      • Joy A Collura says

        it had nothing to do with addiction—

        and who is Dickman but a man who put out a book but did not fact check on Grant or the hikers or other areas so that is POOR resource if that is what you are going by— and to answer you NO that is not the hidden health and appalled to think you would think I would hide that—

        • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

          Reply to Joy A Collura post on December 12, 2015 at 7:34 pm

          >> Joy A. Collura said…
          >>
          >> it had nothing to do with addiction—
          >>
          >> and who is Dickman but a man who put out a book but did
          >> not fact check on Grant or the hikers or other areas so that
          >> is POOR resource if that is what you are going by— and
          >> to answer you NO that is not the hidden health and
          >> appalled to think you would think I would hide that—

          Okay… color me CONFUSED now.

          Are you saying that what Kyle Dickman wrote ( on page 17 of his book ) about Grant struggling with ‘pill addiction’ throughout his high school years is also TOTAL BULLSHIT?

          See post below where Grant’s own father took issue with any number of things in Kyle Dickman’s book… but made no mention of the ‘pill addiction’ being detailed on Dickman’s page 17.

          From what Grant’s father said… yes… it is obvious that Dickman neglected to talk to HIM when he was writing the book…

          …but then where on earth did he get that information about ‘pill addiction’?

          It’s inconceivable ( to me, anyway ) that he would go so far as to make something like that up out of whole cloth.

          But I agree… if he DID… then he should change his name from…

          DickMAN to DickHEAD.

          • Joy A Collura says

            exactly Dickman is a asshole for not fact checking especially when a lot of the book was on Grant– Laurie/Grant Scott can chime in here and confirm Dickman did not fact check especially on us

            • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

              You still just did one of your ‘dance arounds’, again, Joy.

              You didn’t answer the question I asked.

              Are YOU saying that regardless of any other ‘fact-checking’ that Dickman did or didn’t do… that his specific report of Grant’s ‘pill addiction’ throughout his high school years is TOTAL BULLSHIT?

              I’m just trying to understand what is or isn’t TRUE here.

              Throw me a bone.

              • Sonny says

                reply to you in CAPS—-

                WantsToKnowTheTruth says

                December 13, 2015 at 12:49 am

                You still just did one of your ‘dance arounds’, again, Joy. REALLY? EVER THINK YOU DID NOT GET THE ANSWER YOU WANTED—I ANSWERED IT…AND SO DID LAURIE MCKEE…

                You didn’t answer the question I asked.

                YES I DID

                Are YOU saying that regardless of any other ‘fact-checking’ that Dickman did or didn’t do… that his specific report of Grant’s ‘pill addiction’ throughout his high school years is TOTAL BULLSHIT?

                I AM SAYING MUCH OF DICKMANS BOOK WAS NOT FACT CHECKED AND I AM NOT LEAH FINE OR GRANT’S FAMILY AND FEEL IT IS NOT MY POSITION TO STATE EXCEPT ALL THIS TALK ON ADDICTION DOES NOT MATCH TO ALL I MET WHO KNEW HIM AND HE WAS WITH A HEALTH CONCERN AND IF KNOWN WOULD MAKE ANYONE PROUD THAT HE DID HIS JOB —- MY HERO; GRANT MCKEE. I STAND FIRM HERE, IF I FELT DIFFERENT HIS FAMILY KNOWS I AM A STRAIGHT SHOOTER AND WOULD TELL YOU ALL IN SOME WAY IF NOT STRAIGHT I WOULD TELL YA BUT IN MY OPINION DICKMAN HURT ALOT OF PEOPLE FOR HIS INACCURACIES AND NOT FACT CHECKING…YOU GOT LAURIE’S ANSWER WWTKTT—NONE OF ANYONE’S BUSINESS— I SUPPORT IT.

                I’m just trying to understand what is or isn’t TRUE here.
                YES I UNDERSTAND BUT NOT MY POSITION- AND THEY ARE ALREADY TOLD YOU WHAT THEY WANT YOU TO KNOW SO LET IT REST—

                Throw me a bone. BOW WOW! YOU AND GARY WITH ALL THE DOG LINGO—
                https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/3c/3d/08/3c3d087a6b7f1b26541488dc88527459.jpg

        • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

          Reply to Joy A Collura post on December 12, 2015 at 7:36 pm

          >> Joy A. Collura said…
          >>
          >> Dickman is an asshole for writing Grant McKee grew up latchkey
          >> kid when he never fact checked—
          >>
          >> UNTRUE.

          And Grant McKee’s father ripped Kyle Dickman a new one for that ( and other things ) back in a PUBLIC comment back on October 20, 2015.

          ( See exactly what Grant’s father said below ).

          HOWEVER… even though it is obvious Dickman never talked to HIM… there was no ‘retraction’ or even ‘mention’ of the ‘pill addiction’ Dickman was reporting in detail on his page 17.

          So if Dickman never talked to HIM… where did he come by that detail he was printing about Mckee’s high school pill addiction struggles?

          Was that TOTAL bullshit, as well?

          From Chapter XVI ( 16 ) of the ongoing discussion…

          http://www.investigativemedia.com/yarnell-hill-fire-chapter-xvi/#comment-313047

          On October 23, 2015 at 10:41 PM – WTKTT wrote…

          Speaking of ‘books full of bullshit’… just 48 hours ago, Grant Scott McKee, the FATHER of deceased Granite Mountain Hotshot Grant Quinn Mckee, ripped author ( and former Hotshot ) Kyle Dickman a new one regarding his book “On the Burning Edge”.

          Mr. McKee’s comments just appeared at the bottom of an article about that Kle Dickman book that appeared back in May of this year over on Bill Gabbert’s ‘Widlfire Today’ site.

          It’s even worse than I thought ( The bullshit in Dickman’s book ).

          Mr. Dickman details just SOME of the ‘bullshit’ that Dickman was slinging ( in his book ) regarding his son… who Dickman actually chose to make a CENTRAL CHARACTER in the book itself.

          The book actually BEGINS by detailing his son’s first day at work with Granite Mountain.

          But Dickman never, ever spoke to Mr. McKee. Not once. Not even to tell him he was even working on a book that would feature his son or to even verify the ‘stories’ he was going to tell about his son as if they were FACTS.

          Mr. McKee’s comments just appeared at the bottom of the following article…

          http://wildfiretoday.com/2015/05/25/errors-in-a-review-of-a-book-about-the-yarnell-hill-fire/

          And here is what Mr. McKee had to say just 48 hours ago…

          ——————————————————————————————————
          Grant Scott McKee on October 20, 2015 at 4:31 pm said:

          Well , this comment might come pretty late in the game people, but I’m the father and the uncle of 2 of the members in that crew of 19 heros.

          I’m Grant Quinn Mckee’s dad……Grant Scott McKee.

          It has taken me along time to finish the book ( at 2-3 pages a day), because it’s that painful.

          I was never contacted by Mr. Dickman . I had no knowledge he was writing such a book, and as most people can see, he used my son as the focal point in the story line. The first 2 words in the book , chapter1, is my son and my name.

          The story should have had more about ALL 20 guys in the crew, and he definitely took liberties on the events of the history of my sons life.

          My son was NEVER a latch key kid and that was quit offensive.

          Furthermore, May 18th was his birthday , so he was only 21 years old for less than 6 weeks at the time of the accident.

          Mr. Dock man stated that my son work as a busboy/ waiter before taking on the new job as a Hotshot, as well as was a bartender. My son was not yet old enough to make drinks and he knew obsolete lay nothing about being a bartender.

          That’s just a few things, as there are many more details that are not factual.

          One would think that if a person is going to write about someuone’s child, that they would take the time to ask the people who raised him. My sons life was not hard for him growing up as he portrayed it to be. He had a few moments that were difficult, but nothing out of the ordinary for most children in today’s world. He was well taken care of and loved. And he was well aware of how much he was loved. He never wanted for anything.

          Lastly …. I will add that it’s pretty much a no class move that he never even sent a copy to the families he wrote about.

          I guess that says a lot about his compassion and appreciation for making a living on this tragity and disrespecting the families by add lobbing on his facts. There is a word for that… A few words come to mind….. Cheap , selfish, and stupid.

          Dope should be more careful about what they say and write, cause once in awhile , they are the chance of offending the wrong type of people who are not so friendly under these conditions. You know what I’m sayin?

          Thanks to all that took the time to read this novel. I do apologize.
          ——————————————————————————————————

      • Rod Wrench says

        To wants to know: I guess we ran out of room above so I moved down here.
        I didn’t make Joy’s point at all and I never said that Marsh was not contacted by anyone to move the crew. No matter who asked him or how fast to move has nothing to do when to leave the burn or what route to take. Marsh would still be responsible for making the decision when to move and what route would be the safest to get them there. He made the wrong decision on both counts. As for “to reject or delay the crews movement” I’m not implying anything, to anybody a “delay” could be 8-10-12 hours later or at a time safer to move the crew. It’s all very simple and logical decision making if you stop and think about it. Marsh and maybe Steed acted out of emotion to do something they had no chance of accomplishing.

  12. Gary Olson says

    Well….as usual I have some cleanup work to do, so let’s get started.

    1. In addition to being told by my supervisors while I worked for the BLM in New Mexico that I am like a “jackhammer”, which was not said in a positive way during my periodic informal employee counseling sessions I was also told, “Gary…you do good work, but you leave too many bodies on the trail” by the former BLM New Mexico State Director shortly after I was hired.

    Which I think was his way of saying he deeply he regretted that the fact he had allowed me to be hired. In addition to all of that, I have often been told by just about everyone throughout my life that I am like a “bull in a china shop” because I often break things.

    So…with all of that as the back story along with my habit of over sharing, which although some people may find interesting, there are others who no doubt find it to be very annoying and in the category of OMG TMI!

    2. Karen Fann…I find her to be just about the biggest phony and most disingenuous person I have NOT met in my life. And I have met a who’s who list of disingenuous people in my life.

    3. I wasn’t really thinking about it being Christmas because I never think of things like that. All of our kids and grand kids are in Arizona and my dear wife is manning the battlements for the patients with brain injuries here in Olympia, so to me this is just one more week but there are a lot of Christmas decorations around.

    When you spend a lifetime work solving problems that do not wait until Christmas and birthdays are over before they become problems, you have a tendency not to think of these things as being the highest priorities. While we were having a 23rd birthday party for our oldest daughter she said to me, “You know Dad…this is the first time I can remember you have been here for my birthday.” Ouch.

    I also tried to hand my wife one of those collectible Taco Bell Chihuahuas when I came home from a trip a couple of decades ago, it was the “love” one with the heart on its collar. I had been collecting all of them all for my kids while eating a lot of Taco Gag.

    I thought I was being unusually sweet. As she walked past me, without taking the cute little dog from my hand, she said, “Oh great…we can call that my anniversary present…that was last week” as she kept walking.

    So…let’s blame me for the whole ruining Christmas thing. It’s like everything in life, there are tradeoffs, I don’t regret the choices I made…it was an E Ticket Ride, but there were sacrifices along the way and I did leave too many bodies on the trail.

    4. Now that you mention it, I do feel bad that it is Christmas. I feel bad 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots aren’t here to enjoy it with their families. I don’t actually feel bad that we are discussing why they aren’t here right now, I just feel bad they aren’t here. So…I think this is a good time to be discussing this topic. It might help us focus on the real problem.

    Since I was 3 years old when my father didn’t come from work, I don’t remember what my mother said to me, but I do periodically think about what Jesse Steed’s wife told his young children, “Daddy can’t come home right now…he’s in heaven,” which really hurts.

    5. And like Joy, I am too close to the Grant McKee family because Grant’s mother has enjoyed a lot of my rants. And I do understand that this is a very, very sensitive subject and there is an unusually high number of very important and esteemed guest commentators involved here at this time and so I am going to try and not break any china but I probably will.

    And absent a medical doctor or licensed pharmacist weighing in on this, I am going to give it a stab because I already have on the thread before when I callously forgot that Grant’s mother enjoyed many of my rants. I don’t think we can write off Grant’s mix of drugs in his system as not only understandable…but as commendable.

    Some people who abuse prescription drugs do so by combing depressants with stimulants. The effects of the stimulants can take some of the edges off the depressants and vice versa, so you get high both coming and going…so to speak.

    This practice is also very dangerous and very easy to overdose on by using these categories of drugs in this way because sometimes they take too much of the edges off each other and the user overdoses.

    So…until an expert weighs in, I don’t think we should assume it was a good or noble thing that a GMIHC hotshot was on the fire line high on ANY drugs. I think it would have been commendable to keep that hotshot off the fire line until professionals could evaluate his condition to determine if his medical condition precluded him from engaging in that particular line of work.

    I don’t think these drugs played any role in what happened to the crew that day, but these drugs have now entered the conversation and I think need to be talked about in that context. I’m sorry.

    6. There are probably some other things I can’t think of right now but if there are…I’ll be back.

    • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

      Reply to Gary Olson post on December 12, 2015 at 8:17 am

      >> Gary Olson said…
      >>
      >> So…until an expert weighs in, I don’t think we should assume it was a good
      >> or noble thing that a GMIHC hotshot was on the fire line high on ANY drugs.
      >> I think it would have been commendable to keep that hotshot off the fire
      >> line until professionals could evaluate his condition to determine if his
      >> medical condition precluded him from engaging in that particular line of work.

      Have to say ‘agree’ to this.

      If there really was some kind of underlying ‘condition’ that supported this ‘cocktail’ of drugs found in his system… then it also stands to reason that, perhaps, this was an individual that should NOT have been subjecting himself to that kind of intense physical stress.

      More importantly… how PREVALENT is this sort of thing out there?

      I know it’s hot, nasty, exhausting work for not the best pay in the world and it’s hard to even just keep the “butts in the seats” from fire season to fire season… but that’s still no excuse for allowing people to “suit up” who really shouldn’t be “out there”.

      • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

        Followup…

        Laurie McKee left the following comment down below…

        >> On December 11, 2015 at 8:52 pm, Laurie McKee said…
        >>
        >> Thank you Joy. It’s really none of their business. Let’s just say, the
        >> fact that he did what he did as a hotshot was unbelievable with
        >> his health struggle. A true Braveheart” judge if you will. We and
        >> only his family and loved ones know the truth.

        So there it is, then.

        There WAS some kind of underlying ‘health problem’.

        But I don’t think that changes what we are discussing right now, and that is whether or not certain people SHOULD be allowed to be doing this kind of intense work with certain ‘underlying health conditions’ that might require a high level of DRUG treatment(s)… just for the sake of “keeping butts in the seats”.

        In other words… maybe the ‘pack test’ just isn’t enough.

        Lots of people could pass the ‘pack test’… it still doesn’t mean they are sufficiently healthy to be allowed to “suit up” and work on a fireline.

        • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

          Followup…

          For anyone who thinks we are ‘revealing’ anything that isn’t already public information with regards to things that Grante McKee’s toxicology report is now ‘suggesting’…

          On page 17 of former Hotshot Kyle Dickman’s book about the Yarnell Hill Fire, he goes into detail about how Grant McKee had a ‘pill addiction’ problem in his high school years… and he struggled with it for his entire high school term and, perhaps, beyond.

          So obviously the McKee family member who Dickman was getting that information from was OK with that information ‘coming out’ in the book.

          ADOSH never requested the detailed ‘personnel records’ for ALL of the Granite Mountain Hotshots… only the overhead ( Marsh and Steed ), so there’s no way to know if any of this ‘prior medical history’ was, in fact, known to the City of Prescott prior to him being hired as a City employee and a member of the Granite Mountain Crew.

        • Gary Olson says

          Not a huge deal, but there is more. There is an initial standard physical from a doctor that is required. It is however very basic and would probably not reveal a lot of things unless that information was volunteered.

          And the pack test is just a bench mark. The real physical stuff comes from within the crew. And it sounds like Steed made sure there was plenty of that.

          You have to keep in mind the dirty secret to all of this is the amount of money YOU spend on your fire crews. I bet the military spends more tax dollars training a single recruit than YOU spend training an entire hotshot crew to get ready for the fire season.

    • Sonny says

      Gary if anything we would all share in any blame toward JD , JD has plenty respect for the men but truth with him comes above all. Nothing anyone has written or revealed has meant to be insensitive to the loved ones nor should be construed to be. All have shown the high regard and respect for the work those men were doing. Indeed they are heroes in their own right and their work and intentions in the right place. However adding extra hours to their time sheets needs to be examined. Whether the men themselves knew this chicanery was going on or not is not known. Was that some sort of scam where the men never saw the money but instead a setup among a few so money could be kited to other sources? It certainly would have made a big Christmas for those involved but a crime at the same time.

      I personally know how the loss of a loved one hurts. I have a hard time hiking the area and break down when we pass the memorial Joy and I built where we passed the crew on that tragic day. No one can feel the pain as much as those of us whom have lost loved ones. Every August I am reminded of the pain of the lose of my son Ted. Certain events and things can trigger a sadness in me that sometimes will bring me to tears out of nowhere. But that does not excuse me from knowing all the facts and errors that were made that caused his death. Nor am I wanting any information to be withheld in the public forum that might save a future underwater welder’s life. In his case a faulty valve and a caught glove on a frayed cable wound him up in a huge wench tearing his arm loose from his body. He lived another ten years under pain medications and several attempts to restore that arm. I believe he was murdered but never got closure on his death and because of shoddy police work I believe the man who did it was able to disappear without proper investigation. But knowing how a faulty valve can do such mayhem and the maintenance of such a small item can make the difference in a life and death situation. See those valves are supposed to spring back to neutral so the winch stops immediately once you remove your hand from the valve lever. That one was faulty and had been left that way for weeks even though the men in charge knew it. As has been said by so many firemen here you can call the simple rules hill billy and continue to break them but as Russian roulette players find you eventually will hit that loaded round.

      Obviously we do not want to see future wild land firefighters with such blatant disregard for the simple safety rules as seemed to be the case with the GMHS crew and by testament of Donut himself. All the fire fighters of long experience who we hiked to see where the GMHS crew dropped down are aghast that they would have done such thing against all common sense and safety rules. These things are not a testament against good intentions but must be turned to positive so that future men realize the importance of rules to keep them alive. Nor are the men who followed their superiors to blame to much degree. Like good soldiers they strictly followed orders as the GMHS creed said they must do–so I am glad I did not have to strictly follow orders that day and I wonder if I were on that crew would I have been overpowered by others to go down into that trap.

      Dr. Ted Putnam did tell me that about half of people that lose loved ones want to accept the official version or narrative in this case and go on. They do not want to be bothered after they get their check but the other half will want the truth, Yet the Yarnell has much more to do with that just the 19 dead firemen. There are 72 more deaths, two suicides and one attempted shot though the chest,, since the fire in a small community of 600. Half the town residences burned, health problems have increased and what should have cost a few hundred dollars ran into millions of tax payer dollars. The public pays these bills and has every right to know the details of why people died and why this was allowed and why this fire was so badly managed.

      No, JD is a hero and he is representing not only the 19 but all the people and wants this exposed and corrected. If anyone deserves accolades it would be JD not those that managed the Yarnell fire.

    • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

      Reply to Gary Olson post on December 12, 2015 at 1:28 am

      >> Gay Olson said…
      >>
      >> Well…I think that person did answer you, which surprised me.
      >> So…you won. Congratulations!

      It’s not a contest. It’s still all very, very sad.

      • Gary Olson says

        You were right…and I was wrong. It’s not a contest, but I like to keep track of the times I misjudge a situation. I make fewer mistakes that way in the future. As you said, “It’s not rocket science.”

        • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

          Whatever… Ms. Caldwell was gracious enough to answer some questions that only she could answer, and we now know for a fact that the Granite Mountain Crew as NOT working overtime until 10:30 PM that Saturday evening, as their submitted timesheet was is claiming.

          They were all DISMISSED ( and told that Sunday would be a FULL day off ) somewhere in the 6:30 PM timeframe on Saturday. That’s at least 4 hours before the timesheet they submitted for Saturday said they would be ‘off the clock’ ( at 10:30 PM ).

          Robert Caldwell received his RECALL notification about Sunday being a ‘full day off’ circa 9:20 PM. Most likely from Jesse Steed via a phone call.

          Caldwell was a ‘Squad Boss’… so we also now know that he, himself, was then responsible for making the notifications to his ‘half’ of the GM crew.

          Ms. Caldwell seems to indicate all of those ‘half the crew’ notifications were successful, and then Robert immediately ‘hit the sack’ at 9:30 PM in order to get at least 7 hours of sleep before having to be at the GM station at 5:00 AM.

          So that also means at least half the crew wasn’t ‘left hanging’… and still out there somewhere thinking that tomorrow was still a ‘full day off’ and they could continue drinking, or continue doing whatever it was they do when someone has already DISMISSED them from any fire assignments and they believe the next day is a FULL day off.

          The 9:20 PM timeframe for Caldwell receiving the RECALL notice also pushes the time when Steed was notified out to probably about 9:00 PM at the earliest.

          This is all still ‘lining up’ with the other evidence that Marsh received the call about whether Granite Mountain was actually available for work on Sunday WHILE he was having dinner with his wife at the Prescott Brewing Company in the 8:00 PM to 9:00 PM timeframe.

          So it looks like it was a ‘done deal’ by about 8:50 PM, Marsh called Steed circa 9:00 PM, and Steed proceeded to notify the Squad bosses to, in turn, notify all their men that they had all lost their already-promised FULL day off.

          Steed probably called Caldwell second ( after calling the other Squad Boss ), which would explain the 9:20 PM timeframe for Caldwell’s. call.

          Thanks to Ms. Caldwell… we can also now say for sure that Granite Mountain had NOT automatically violated the 2:1 work:rest rule on that night before they died. They were NOT ‘working’ until 10:30 PM, as the timesheet still says they were.

          • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

            Typo above.

            Sentence above SHOULD have read like this…

            Robert Caldwell received his RECALL notification about Sunday NOT being a ‘full day off’ anymore circa 9:20 PM. Most likely from Jesse Steed via a phone call.

          • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

            By the way… in case anyone was ‘doing the math’ in their head…

            If we assume that the ‘on the clock’ time of 6:30 PM being claimed for Saturday, June 29, 2013 is correct… and we also now assume that they really were DISMISSED from work at around 6:30 PM that day ( and not 4 hours later at 10:30 PM as the timesheet claims )….

            …then we are ACTUALLY looking at a 12 ( TWELVE ) hour day for all of them on Saturday, June 29 ( and not a 16 hour day as the timesheet claims ).

            That means that in order for ALL of them to have stayed within the required 2:1 work:rest ratio before going to work in Yarnell… they ALL had to pretty much have been ‘in the sack and sleeping’ either at the same time Robert Caldwell appears to have been ( 9:30 PM ) or NO LATER than 10:30 PM Saturday evening.

            9:30 PM Saturday night to 4:30 AM Sunday morning is 7 hours.

            7 hours of sleep following a 12 hour shift keeps you WITHIN the required 2:1 work:rest ration for the next day.

            10:30 PM Saturday night to 4:30 AM Sunday morning is 6 hours.

            6 hours of sleep following a 12 hour shift keeps you WITHIN the required 2:1 work:rest ration for the next day.

            HUGE CAVEAT: The actual RULES for the ‘work/rest’ ratio don’t actually specifically mention that the hours be spent actually SLEEPING… but as tired as even Ms. Caldwell is now saying that crew was… then I was just illustrating what amount of SLEEP ( and not just time off before reporting to work again ) would have kept them within the accepted 2:1 work:rest ratio.

            With regards to how TIRED the enitre crew might have been before shipping off to Yarnell… it’s also interesting to hear Ms. Caldwell herself say…

            ———————————————-
            My husband was notified at 9:20 pm on June 29th that he and his crew would be available the following morning. He called half the crew, squad B and notified them that they would in fact be going to work the following day even though they had already worked for two weeks straight. I do not know why they would have been paid for what was supposed to have been a two day break but it is at no fault of their own. ———————————————-

            “already worked for 2 weeks”.

            It seems Ms. Caldwell herself ( and the other family members? ) were already ASSUMING they had hit the expected ‘2 full days off’ since they had ( in her words ) “already worked for 2 weeks”.

            It indicates that ( apparently ) Ms. Caldwell was not aware that someone had decided that their ‘light duty’ working at Station 7 on June 26 and June 27 was qualifying as the mandatory ‘2 days of rest’, and on Friday, June 28, when they were assigned to the ‘West Spruce Fire’… someone associated with the crew had called the SWCC and set a new ‘commit date’ for them of June 28, 2013.

            The ‘commit date’ on the ‘readiness’ screen at SWCC indicates when any particular crew has now been RESET and is fully available to BEGIN another 14 day tour.

            Only TWO FULL DAYS OFF is supposed to qualify as the RESET condition after 14 days of straight work… but someone decided that just those two ‘light duty’ days working at Station 7 met the requirement, and they had SWCC then show GM as ‘fully rested’ and ready for ANOTHER 14 day tour.

            So speaking with regards to her husband ( specifically ) and ( perhaps ) the entire crew ( generally )… there seemed to be no doubt that they had reached the point before being assigned to Yarnell where that mandatory TWO FULL DAYS OFF was both ‘expected’ and NEEDED.

            It begs the question, then…

            WHO called the SWCC on Granite Mountain’s behalf on Friday, June 28, 2013… and told the SWCC Dispatch to enter the new ‘commit’ date of June 28 for them and list them as ‘available’ and at the START of a new 14 day tour before being entitled to those 2 FULL days off again?

            Willis? Marsh? Steed? Someone else?

            • Gary Olson says

              Well…here is where some of my experience with SWCC may come in handy, although many things are different now AND the GMIHC were an anomaly in many ways, some good and most bad.

              None of the people you mentioned ever called SWCC in my day. There was always a clear and strictly observed chain of command. Those kind of people didn’t even have SWCC’s phone number.

              I am pretty sure the GMIHC were managed out of the Prescott National Forest Dispatch Center, which also would have been an Interagency Zone Fire Operations Center. So it was may have someone from there, which may be making the USDA-FS nervous.

              But since the powers that be wanted the GMIHC to break protocol and go on that fire even though they shouldn’t have because they were out of rotation, that end run could very well have been out of the dispatch center we have talking about that was running the fire for the state. I can’t think of their name right now.

              My bet is on them. From Willis and Marsh to them. And then they called SWCC. The Prescott National Forest Dispatch Center should have refused to get into that mess, but who knows? Willis had some real push with that whole interagency good ole boy local yocal cabal running the show in “Everybody’s Home Town.” He probably still does. You have to remember that I knew Willis back then. He was CONNECTED.

  13. Larry Sall says

    Why did 17 Granite Mountain Hotshots high-tail it into the brush? Because their leaders did. Hungover or not these boys did what they were told to do. As a hotshot under the supervision of Rod Wrench I learned these things, did my job and made it home. Unfortunately the crew members of the Granite Mountain crew on this particular day became victims of a bad decision. When you sign-up to be a hotshot you really don’t know who you’re going to get. Are you going to get a supervisor with the common sense and experience to fight fire in flashy fuel country or the supervisor having the numbers indicating experience with an ego. I’m so sorry for the loss of life here. Paste a list of the 10 Standard Firefighting Orders inside your hardhats so when you take it off you can see them right in front of you. No more shortcuts boys! Pay attention!

    • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

      Reply to Larry Sall post on December 11, 2015 at 9:51 pm

      >> Larry Sall said…
      >>
      >> Hungover or not these boys did what they were told to do.

      Yes. 17 of them ‘did what they were told to do’ that day.

      But just to be clear… the bottom line on the recently released reports does not establish beyond a shadow of a doubt that any of them were actually ‘drunk’ or at various stages of inebriation when they died. That only remains ‘a possibility’.

      There actually isn’t enough FACTUAL information in the reports to say whether the BAC levels could definitely be attributed solely to pre-mortem or post-mortem ingestion/production… or some combination of both scenarios.

      Example: Each and very report says that both ‘bile’ and ‘liver’ samples were taken from each and every decedent, but NONE of the toxicology reports contain any ‘results’ of that sampling at all.

      So they are ‘incomplete’ toxicology reports, at best.

      But there at least TWO other VERY important things being revealed in these ‘reports’.

      1. There does NOT appear to have been any serious pre-mortem physical injuries to ANY of the men such as a broken leg/ankle or hip or back injuries. There has always been a possibility that some physical injury took place during their ‘hike’ out of the safe black and that is what seriously ‘slowed them all down’ as they were trying to traverse that box canyon full of explosive, unburned fuel. So it looks like that long-standing mystery can be put to rest. They may have been exhausted… but it looks like no one was actually ‘injured’ prior to the deployment.

      2. There is now proof-positive that a variety of critical ‘electronic devices’ that were never entered into the evidence record were, in fact, sitting right there in the men’s shirt and pants pocket(s) and were duly noted by the Medical Examiners. They were not ‘lost’ out at the deployment site or anywhere else. They simply (somehow) never made into the YCSO police ‘chain of evidence’.

    • Gary Olson says

      Our came with sticky backs (like all of them) and we were required to paste them to the inside our our hard hats.

  14. Ex granite shot says

    Dear john,

    As an ex granite mountain hotshot and friend of several of the brave men who died that day I can tell you that all of them were more man in work ethic, honor, dignity and respect in there little finger than you have in your whole body. While you sit behind a desk and read so called professional reports of there lives and tear them apart and try to expose there flaws. We who knew them and have been in there shoes understand that after 14 to 21 days away from family and friends we deserve a day to celebrate and relax. For a lot of those men it meant hugging there kids for the last time and kissing there wives. It makes me sick that after two years you can’t let it go and allow the families to move on. Yet 2 weeks before christmas you find it necessary to bring up old wounds like a Christmas grinch. I challenge you to spend one season in the life of a hotshot and for that one day. I recommend you stay behind you desk and cower because you are not man enough to do what we do and that it why you hide behind your words. Merry Christmas and may God judge you when that day comes because he will see the truth and never hold you higher then our beloved 19. God bless our 19 and may they never be forgotten for there love and scrafice.

    • Gary Olson says

      I don’t believe anyone is challenging the fact that the Granite Mountain Interagency Hotshot Crew had every right to do everything they were doing after they were released from work on June 29, 2013. Been there…done that.

      The questions that are being asked relate to whether the crew should have been taken and sent to the Yarnell Hill Fire on June 30, 2013. I don’t believe they should have been, nor do I believe that is the fault of the crew itself.

      That responsibility lies with those who made that decision for them. And I want to know who that was and why they made that decision under those circumstances. The crew did what hotshots do…they saddled up and hit the line.

      John Dougherty and Investigative Media are not your enemy. Your enemies are all of those who have hid the truth for so long now.

      The Granite Mountain Interagency Hotshot Crew were heroes before they died…not because of it. I am at a loss for words to describe how bad I feel for the crew and all of those who loved them.

      • Bob Powers says

        Ex granite— You are talking to a whole bunch of EX hot shots here many with over 30 years of fire. John is saying much of what we are.
        With this story the Timing doesn’t always come at the proper times.
        Nor is the story and information always about HEROES.

        Sorry it isn’t, but that’s how it is coming out. Human Factors in these Types of cases are some times more to why the Fatalities occurred.

        The SAIT did a terrible job no one did any thing wrong when we know that is false
        They left out a lot of information to come to that conclusion. Don’t You Think???

    • Joy A Collura says

      reply to EX GMHS who posted December 11, 2015 at 6:13 pm

      There is no proper words to state for the many losses—

      I haven’t quite worked up the courage yet to go and read the actual autopsy reports but read the article by JD and soon meet with family of the GMHS.

      It all just seems like a macabre and disrespectful act for me to read them alone; if that makes any sense at all. You knew them. I never met the men just passed by and spoke to them- I am awaiting my alone time with a loved one of the GMHS to review the reports with ’em.

      This site was not made to be harmful yet we all have our off days or moments but it is a very blunt open freedom of speech discussion of the world’s grief and we all here that type on here have learned MOST the world read it but privately reach us on their pain and grief and questions so for you to come here and share public— good. healthy. thank you.
      Good to feel the blood of Jesus in your tone—

      I do not know though why people who do not like John Dougherty’s flair of sharing don’t do what I do— don’t read it and if I do end up skimming it and see things I don’t like I either share it here or really vent it on top of a mountain I am legal to walk with no comprehension of what I read— I mean I never could imagine a human being having a title lamb to slaughter after that kind of loss— I still shake my head to this very day and when I first heard he wanted the hike with us and certain journalists said if you do that hike- you will be labelled/judged and hated just by association and affiliation and yet I have had too many firefighters all over the world even an EX GMHS too assure me and I mean into the thousands not just a select few like you see post here but in real time real life and for that I keep sharing here knowing this is MY journey as the eye-witness and all I was doing on that hill that weekend was to alert prospectors/herpetologists/geologists that normally camp by Stanton because I know that terrain and how the ridges hid the fire and I am glad I went to alert them and my way to understand what I eye-witnessed when I sat on the very ridge they drop down that horrific day not too long before they made that descend—I thought I still have to leave this two track ridge spot (it’s sweltering hot and I had edema) and get where he parked which was near the Helm’s —the safety zone—I followed Tex the longer steeper less vegetation because he was persistent at no point on that side of the Weavers is it safe to drop down and we must go the Congress side—

      Every human being face the YHF and all its losses differently—that I know—and everyone’s grief is different.

      We can be connected one moment…angry another…but wasn’t it a nice feeling to type here and express and share and open up to let John know what he did was wrong not just timing but technique—I can tell you as everyone reviews the article and reports it was not to place flaws to the forefront as I already stated on here IF people here KNEW Grant than they would understand the report with more understanding—he was not as it appeared on the report and if the family wanted to share–that is their journey but I would not share what Grant Scott McKee shared to me because that moment—was a surprise encounter and we spent quality time and what I told him in private his father stated was right on…this is damn straight not easy for any of us to write on here especially when we have been made aware the world is watching—my ol pal when I was in college and ol work pal who now works as an editor for Wall Street and USA TODAY in NY—you won’t probably see her run this kind of article—yet as an ex GMHS you do know this discussions to better understand that weekend and like Dr. Ted Putnam stated 50% HAVE TO MOVE ON— and 50% want every tiny detail— we also have met the ones who are torn to both sides but bottom line are sick that they are gone—

      You know what, you’re right, it sucks and I hate that you have to go through this, and that you had to read John’s article. You may not want to hear this because it is from me someone who has typed on here on and off since Fall 2013 but I am going to say it—
      I’m here for you…and I’ll still be here for you when you want to cry or when you’re angry. If you need to yell about it to feel better, I’m here. You ask Phillip “Mando” Maldonado, a ex GMHS squad leader that I NEVER made him talk or anything on our hike—I allowed him his space—to me it was HIS moment but I am always there for him too.
      If you want to vent, I’m here. And, if you need a laugh, I’m here. I may not understand what you’re going through, but I’m here to listen, and I’ll still be here days or years from now…when others won’t.

      there are no perfect words. I know.
      I had my time with loss on 911-
      sucks.
      looking back on 911—and my losses—
      Many people thought that not saying anything will be better than accidentally saying the wrong thing, but the truth is, the worst thing is to say or do nothing. Years later, I honestly don’t remember who said the “wrong” thing. I remember those who were there for me despite not always knowing what to say. In reality, when you mean well, it’s hard to say the completely wrong thing. Don’t over think it, If you’re truly genuine, your support will shine through, and just being there will help…

      this page has helped me heal because I can talk—yell—cry–laugh and no be restricted-
      it feels good to get it out versus keeping it in–
      when I had my losses at times I could not identify my needs because I felt so lost—
      could not pick up the phone and dial the person I cared about—
      I felt robbed—

      We hiked Zack Ashoor who knew the men as well as other private people who knew the men and was always told it helped them heal—our hike..each one did the mountain differently…I even had a hike with someone that knew them very close and we spoke NOTHING the entire hike and after they opened up and said I thought I was going to get a tour guide because of what people said (rumors) and you gave me silence, how come? I think for that person on the mountain they needed just that and was there to walk them through it and answer all their questions. I won’t be able to fix the losses but I do hope to change the way they fight wildfires because of what I heard from firefighters on that fire and saw their footages—I cannot fix the discomforts either yet you must know when you get up there and see this fire and its clarity than you will know it will take a site like this to make a dent in reaching those changes—Sorry when you read this site if I was a complete asshole. As a God person as you are— than you know life ends but love is Eternal so keep the prayers alive to cloak this site and for God to guide this site and make it a more loving place to visit versus the chos of deep grief—Remember also this site may involve extreme emotions and behaviors yet its all part of the grieving process— please do not judge us—or take things personal—

      In closing, Merry Christmas and may your 2016 be solid-
      I am so sorry for your loss. I wish I had the right words, just know I care.
      But me moving forward and remaining here does not mean I don’t care—this is MY journey as well to heal—and I need to get things out and not carry it in—we all have different paths—You and your loved one will be in my thoughts and prayers.
      May God Be With You Always-

  15. WantsToKnowTheTruth says

    Here is just one link online about it taking up to FIVE DAYS ( 140 HOURS ) for a post-mortem fermentation process to produce a BAC content as high as 0.08 g%, which amounts to ‘legally drunk’ in all 50 states.

    TWO of the Granite Mountain Hotshots ended up with BAC content readings of MORE than that ( 0.09 g% ) after only 19 hours and 47 ( less than even ONE day ) between ‘Time of Death’ and ‘Cadaver Stabilzation’ ( cold storage of the cadaver ).

    Fermentation in DUI Blood Tests
    http://losangeles.california-drunkdriving.org/blood_fermentation.html

    From the article…
    ————————————————————-
    Candida albicans, the most common microbial culprit of ethanol production in blood samples, can produce ethanol. Blume, Bacterial Contamination on BAC Stability, 60 American journal of Clinical Pathology 700 (1973). Specimens stored at room temperature for MORE THAN FIVE DAYS showed significant alcohol formation (up to 0.08 percent maximum) in a study by Chang arid Kollman, The Effect of Temperature on the Formation of Ethyl Alcohol by Candida Aihacans in the Blood, 34(1) JFSCA 105 (Jan. 1989).
    ————————————————————-

    • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

      Correction for above: FIVE DAYS obviously only amounts to 120 hours, not 140.

      It was LESS than ONE day ( actually only 19 hours and 47 minutes ) between the time the Granite Mountain Hotshots died and their bodies were put in ‘cold storage’ at the Maricopa County Medical Examiner’s facility.

  16. John says

    Why was alcohol detected in Eric Marsh since I thought he had quit drinking? First of all, I am not buying that significant quantities of alcohol are produced through decomposition. Also, isn’t Grant McKee’s toxicology report an enormous red flag as to his condition on the fireline? That is a real stew of opiates, a muscle relaxant, an amphetamine, and an antidepressant. This mix has to be bordering on dangerous let alone of questionable legality. No wonder why the powers that be didn’t want these autopsy reports to see the light of day.

    • Robert the Second says

      John,

      How about this from EACH of the reports: ” The Maricopa County Office of the Medical Examiner agreed to provide CONSULTATIVE SERVICES TO INVESTIGATING AUTHORITIES and the Yavapai County Medical Examiner.”

      I’m thinking they did NOT do that or if they did, it didn’t set right with the SAIT and/or ADOSH ‘investigating authorities” because it did NOT square with the SAIR ‘Party Line’ conclusion of
      ” … NO INDICATION OF NEGLIGENCE, RECKLESS ACTIONS, OR VIOLATIONS OF POLICY OR PROTOCOL.”

    • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

      Reply to John post on December 11, 2015 at 11:45 am

      >> John said…
      >>
      >> Why was alcohol detected in Eric Marsh since I thought he had quit drinking?

      Without trying to be overly simple here… there are only THREE reasons why post-mortem blood samples would ever be showing any ‘alcohol’ content at all.

      1. The person had been drinking in a short to medium timeframe prior to death.
      2. The body had started to decompose and was beginning to ‘ferment’ alcohol.
      3. Some combination of BOTH of the above.

      One of the other questions to ask here might also be… what was an ‘ex-alcoholic’ doing at the ‘Prescott Brewing Company’ the night before he died? What did he have to DRINK while he was there? Something like… gee… I don’t know… maybe… BEER?

      The person who had dinner with him would know.

      >> John also said…
      >>
      >> First of all, I am not buying that significant quantities of alcohol are
      >> produced through decomposition.

      Keyphrase here is ‘significant quantities’.

      Yes… it is an absolute FACT that as a body begins to ‘decompose’… a certain ‘fermentation’ process can ( but NOT always ) begin that WILL produce ‘alcohol’ in trace amounts that might then appear in a blood sample.

      But regardless of how much time might have expired between TOD ( Time of Death ) and CS ( Cadaver Stabilization / Refigeration )… once the blood sample has been taken and further ‘stabilized’ in the industry standard ways… whatever ‘fermentation’ that might have already started is pretty much STOPPED as long as the blood samples are then evaluated before the ‘stabilizing additives’ themselves begin to wear off in the sample.

      But for ANY post-mortem ‘fermentation’ process to even BEGIN… and then be the reason for certain ‘trace amounts’ of alcohol’ to show up in post-mortem blood samples… it’s all about TIME and the ‘rate of decomposition’.

      Only 19 hours and 47 minutes passed between the time the Granite Mountain Hotshots died ( at an accepted time of 4:43 PM on June 30, 2013 ) to when their bodies all arrived from Yarnell via air-conditioned vans at the Maricopa County Medical Examiner’s office ( at 12:30 PM on July 1, 2013 ).

      I have seen studies done online which were designed to MEASURE ‘fermentation rates’ in corpses decomposing under various conditions. One of those studies reported that it took upwards of FIVE DAYS of light to moderate decomposition in order to reach a wholly-post-mortem produced amount of alcohol of 0.8 g% ( which is the equivalent of ‘legally drunk’ in every state in the union ).

      TWO of the Granite Mountain Hotshots where showing rates even HIGHER than the legal ‘being drunk’ limit and were showing BAC alcohol content rates of 0.09 g%, even though it was only 19 hours and 47 minutes before their bodies had been ‘stabilized’ ( refrigerated ).

      So from what I have read… even if it could be proven that those 2 BAC samples of 0.909 g% alcohol content are completely attributable to post-mortem alcohol production… that would make these EXTREMELY RARE cases… and 2 have TWO of them on the same incident with those same HIGH BAC rates would be pretty much unheard of.

      Doesn’t meant it isn’t possible… but we are now talking about something that would deserve more detailed study by the forensics industry itself because it would just be so darn RARE and unusual… and would warrant ‘further study’.

      All of that being said… the fact that at least 6 (SIX) of the same bodies recovered from the same accident site and subject to the exact same 19 hour and 47 minute timeframe prior to ‘stabilization’ showed absolutely NO post-mortem Blood / Alcohol content at ALL has to be factored into any ‘findings’.

      To have SOME bodies from an incident where everyone died at the same time, in pretty much the same manner showing, NO BAC content at all… and others showing levels as high as 0.09 g% ( even MORE than legally drunk ) is just highly, highly unusual and begs for a good explanation.

      >> John also said…
      >>
      >> Also, isn’t Grant McKee’s toxicology report an enormous red flag as
      >> to his condition on the fireline?

      Well… yes… it is. No two ways about it.

      He was the ‘rookie’ and as Kyle Dickman has reported in his book… the one they all chose to ‘pick on’ for the 2013 season and the one who was also having the most trouble adjusting to the intense physical requirements of the job.

      >> John also said…
      >>
      >> That is a real stew of opiates, a muscle relaxant, an amphetamine,
      >> and an antidepressant. This mix has to be bordering on dangerous
      >> let alone of questionable legality. No wonder why the powers that
      >> be didn’t want these autopsy reports to see the light of day.

      It really does paint a picture of someone whose body was having trouble keeping up with the demands he was placing on it… and he was turning to DRUGS to try and ‘keep going’.

      Whether or not all of the drugs that were showing up were ‘legally obtained’ and/or whether valid ‘prescriptions’ were found for all of them is something that the Medical Examiner’s office was NOT responsible for tracing.

      That would have been the job of the investigators for the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office.

      • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

        Followup…

        The other ‘side issue’ coming out of these reports, is that if it really is the case that a ‘rookie Hotshot’ was turning to a myriad of DRUGS to “keep going” and not “wash out” of a first season and lose future work opportunities…

        …then how PREVALENT is that in the WFF industry as a whole?

        How many OTHER WFF are out there ‘juicing themselves’ just to make it through the seasonal employment stretch each year?

        As far as I know… there is no ongoing ‘mandatory drug testing’ for this occupation.

        Maybe there SHOULD be.

      • Robert the Second says

        WTKTT,

        Excellent Sherlock Holmesianism.

        You posted “That would have been the job of the investigators for the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office.” Exactly!

        And this phrase is in each GMHS report under “Reported Circumstances of Death;” ”The Maricopa County Office of the Medical Examiner agreed to provide CONSULTATIVE SERVICES TO INVESTIGATING AUTHORITIES and the Yavapai County Medical Examiner.”

    • Joy A Collura says

      I am proud of Grant McKee—

      you step into his life and learn it all—
      you will know the truth to why he had what he had in his system and maybe one day his loved ones will share—

      • Laurie Mckee says

        Thank you Joy. It’s really none of their business. Let’s just say, the fact that he did what he did as a hotshot was unbelievable with his health struggle. A true Braveheart” judge if you will. We and only his family and loved ones know the truth.

        • Gary Olson says

          I am very sorry for your loss.

          But…there seems to be a common thread of misconception running through all of those who loved the GMIHC. They were public employees when they died. Their deaths have and will cost many tens of millions of dollars of taxpayer money before all of their children are raised and their widows die.

          I’m afraid Grant’s death is EVERYONE’S business.

  17. Rod Wrench says

    I really do not think this report has anything to do with the fatal decision to leave the safety of the burn and head off into the unburn ahead of the fire front. During my 7 years as a crew foreman & superintendent on two IR crews there were many times I was not 100% but it never interfered with me following the 10 SFFO & the Situations to Shout Watch Out..

    • Robert the Second says

      Rod,

      You posted: “I really do not think this report has anything to do with the fatal decision to leave the safety of the burn and head off into the unburn ahead of the fire front.”

      I agree with your statement that even though you were not 100% a lot of times, you always followed the 10 and 18 and were just fine, that this never impaired YOUR judgement. And I have been there myself and done just fine as well by following the 10 and 18.

      Here’s an article from the Mayo Clinic brought over from Chapter XVII:

      “Ethanol acts on cerebral functions as a depressant similar to general anesthetics. This depression causes most of the typical symptoms such as impaired thought, clouded judgment, and changed behavior. As the level of alcohol increases, the degree of impairment becomes progressively increased.”

      To do what this Crew did, which is unprecedented in WF history, had to be due to “impaired thought and clouded judgement,” among other things. As far as the “changed behavior” goes, I think this was behavior as normal for this Crew. Bad Decisions With Good Outcomes. They had gotten away with this kind of stuff for years and so why not again this time … it worked before, so it should work again.

      • Rod Wrench says

        Robert, “impaired thought and clouded judgement ” by the crews overhead has more to do with their ego and a super hero attitude then the Mayo Clinic’s research.. This decision to do the unthinkable was the made by the crews supervisors. I totally agree with you “Bad decisions with good outcomes” in the past may have contributed to the illogical decision to travel thru the unburn. My thoughts are with the 17 souls that had to follow their leaders that they had placed their total trust in. We must get back to wildfire fighting basics and leave the chest beating egos at home and at the bar.

        • Robert the Second says

          Rod,

          You posted “My thoughts are with the 17 souls that had to follow their leaders that they had placed their total trust in.”

          Yes, agreed. And yet it was the “impaired thought and clouded judgement” as the result of the alcohol AND being hungover with one on heavy RX drugs that weakened any professional common sense these men had, including their leaders, when it was time for them to make a good, solid, safe, rational decision to stay put in the perfectly good SZ.

          Based on their respective BAC’s in the Toxicology Reports (0.01g% up to an incredible 0.09g% BAC), just doing the math on what their respective BAC’s would have been that morning when the showed up for the assignment suggests that half or more of them were UNFIT FOR DUTY.

          I contend that the Toxicology Reports had a great deal to do with the GMHS fatalities. And these were available to the ALLEGED SAIT and Human Factors
          ‘Investigators.’

          But these results did NOT fit the SAIR ‘Party Line’ of “The [SAIT] found NO INDICATION OF NEGLIGENCE, RECKLESS ACTIONS, OR VIOLATIONS OF POLICY OR PROTOCOL.” WTF!?

          I guess we will have to agree to disagree.

          • Rod Wrench says

            Toxicology had nothing to do with the decision to leave the safety of the burn. You probably have some BS scientific reasoning for the small, inactive lighting fire not actively surpressed the first evening, but waiting 17 hours to make an initial attack with a type 2 inmate crew.

            • Robert the Second says

              Rod and John and ex GMHS, and everyone else,

              No I do NOT “have some BS scientific reasoning for the small, inactive lighting fire not actively surpressed the first evening, but waiting 17 hours to make an initial attack with a type 2 inmate crew”

              Pure and simple, I agree completely, the ASF screwed up in the initial stages of the fire.AND they were penny pinching, trying to save money like most State agencies do.

              It does not matter what stage, what agency, whatever – the WFF Rules ALWAYS apply, ever fire. I prefer to and do know them by heart instead of relying on a sticker inside my hardhat.

              I grieve deeply every day for these men and their families, friends, and loved ones – every day. And it is because of that that I seek to determine what really happened and why. And so, we are in an ethical dilemma here. It’s either the truth or the lies of the SAIT and the SAIR claiming they did everything right, yet 19 men died.

              Which one do you choose? Truth or lies …

  18. Robert the Second says

    Here’s an the relevant portion of an email reply from (MTDC) Missoula Technology and Development Center regarding the toxic compounds found in the GMHS toxicology results, e.g. Benzene, Toluene, and Xlylene.

    “All three of the compounds are found in wood smoke among other combustible materials, ie. Batteries, plastics and petroleum products. The same three products are also released from a fire shelter, but at lower levels than wood smoke.

    “It is impossible to tell how much of these compounds came from other combusting materials, unless air samples were taken at that time. I would assume that since the vast majority of smoke came from vegetation, the majority of the compounds came from it as well.

    “Attached is a tech tip written by MaryAnn Davies who studied the byproducts of combustion of wood and other combustibles.”

    The Davies link is below. It’s definitely worth researching.

    http://www.fs.fed.us/t-d/pubs/pdfpubs/pdf04232327/pdf04232327dpi300.pdf

    “The hazardous air pollutants we measured in campfire smoke that are known to adversely affect human health were: acrolein (2-propenal), acetaldehyde, benzene, furan, naphthalene, styrene, toluene, and xylene. We did not analyze the smoke for toxic metals.”

    “Benzene, naphthalene, styrene, toluene, and xylene are aromatic hydrocarbons, which are suspected carcinogens. Aromatic hydrocarbons also are severe eye, nose, and throat irritants. These
    compounds occur in petroleum products and automobile exhaust. They also are found in dyes and are used to produce a number of organic compounds. Benzene is a major component in tobacco smoke.

    Naphthalene is an ingredient in moth-balls. Toluene and xylene occur in petroleum products and in dyes. Styrene is primarily used in the production of polystyrene plastics and resins.”

  19. WantsToKnowTheTruth says

    >> Only two hotshots said they were 100%. ( ready to go to work )

    No matter how you look at it… THAT was ‘not good’.

    We are talking about 20 men about to go off and work in a life threatening situation
    all day… and needing to make good ( SAFE ) decisions all day…

    …and only TWO of them were saying they were actually ‘fully ready’ to do that.

  20. Claire Caldwell says

    Dear John,
    My name is Claire Caldwell. I am the widow of Robert E Caldwell.
    I am horrified and disgusted in your article. You have managed to dig a knife a little deeper yet again into my already broken heart. Merry Christmas to you! I would like to state to any and all who will listen that the last night I was able to spend with my beloved husband went like this. He called me to let me know he would be coming home around 7pm on June 29th. I was so happy that I would finally after two weeks get to have a night at home with him. I cooked him a steak and I gave him a coors. You’re damn right I did. He deserved a beer after working harder than you sir or most men in this country will have ever worked a single day in their entire lives. By the way, that was perfectly legal and within the boundaries of his agreements with the hotshot crew he had dedicated his life to! And I brewed him a pot of coffee while he took his first shower in weeks. You see, he was so spent that he needed coffee to be able to stay awake long enough to spend a half hour with his wife after dinner. But he did. And that was what the last night that I ever got to spend with Robert looked like. Yeah! He partied hard that night! He ate his steak and he drank a single beer and he showered and he came to bed to be with his wife. And he fell asleep by 9:30. I stayed up and watched him sleep because he was so beautiful and I admired his work ethic and the incredible MAN that he was and because I loved him more than Ive ever loved anyone or anything in my life. Since you’re so curious and so ruthlessly intrusive… Now you know. How dare you accuse him of doing less or being less than the man he was. You make me sick and you cause me so much pain! How dare you! Merry Christmas!

    • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

      Reply to Claire Caldwell post on December 10, 2015 at 2:08 pm

      First and foremost… I am so very sorry for your loss.

      >> Claire Caldwell said…
      >>
      >> My name is Claire Caldwell. I am the widow of Robert E Caldwell.
      >> He called me to let me know he would be coming home around 7pm on June 29th.

      Are you aware that the TIME SHEET that was turned in for Granite Mountain on Saturday, June 29th, has your husband ( and the entire GM crew ) fully ‘on the clock’ and earning overtime pay working the ‘Mount Josh’ fire until 10:30 PM on Saturday, June 29, 2013?

      That official Granite Mountain CTR ( Crew Time Report ) that was turned in for Saturday, June 29, 2013 is here…

      http://media.phoenixnewtimes.com/9122596.0.pdf

      The following is a TEXT version of that same Granite Mountain ‘Crew Time Report’ for Saturday, June 29, 2013…

      * Time sheet for Saturday, June 29, 2013
      —————————————————————————–
      Crew Name: Granite Mountain Hotshots
      Crew Number: 1
      Office Responsible for Fire: PNF ( Prescott National Forest )
      Fire Name: Mount Josh
      Fire Number: P3EKV8 ( aka: West Spruce Fire )
      Date: 06/29/13 ( Saturday, June 29, 2013 )

      Total Hours | Time | On | Off | Employee

      16.0 | 0600 ( 6:00 AM ) | 22:30 ( 10:30 PM ) | Marsh, Eric
      16.0 | 0600 ( 6:00 AM ) | 22:30 ( 10:30 PM ) | Steed, Jesse
      16.0 | 0600 ( 6:00 AM ) | 22:30 ( 10:30 PM ) | Whitted, Clayton
      16.0 | 0600 ( 6:00 AM ) | 22:30 ( 10:30 PM ) | Caldwell, Robert
      16.0 | 0600 ( 6:00 AM ) | 22:30 ( 10:30 PM ) | Carter, Travis
      16.0 | 0600 ( 6:00 AM ) | 22:30 ( 10:30 PM ) | McKenzie, Chris
      16.0 | 0600 ( 6:00 AM ) | 22:30 ( 10:30 PM ) | Turbyfill, Travis
      16.0 | 0600 ( 6:00 AM ) | 22:30 ( 10:30 PM ) | Ashcraft, Andrew
      16.0 | 0600 ( 6:00 AM ) | 22:30 ( 10:30 PM ) | Thurston, Joe
      16.0 | 0600 ( 6:00 AM ) | 22:30 ( 10:30 PM ) | Parker, Wade
      16.0 | 0600 ( 6:00 AM ) | 22:30 ( 10:30 PM ) | Rose, Anthony
      16.0 | 0600 ( 6:00 AM ) | 22:30 ( 10:30 PM ) | Zuppiger, Garret
      16.0 | 0600 ( 6:00 AM ) | 22:30 ( 10:30 PM ) | Norris, Scott
      16.0 | 0600 ( 6:00 AM ) | 22:30 ( 10:30 PM ) | Deford, Dustin
      16.0 | 0600 ( 6:00 AM ) | 22:30 ( 10:30 PM ) | Warneke, William
      16.0 | 0600 ( 6:00 AM ) | 22:30 ( 10:30 PM ) | Woyjeck, Kevin
      16.0 | 0600 ( 6:00 AM ) | 22:30 ( 10:30 PM ) | Mckee, Grant
      16.0 | 0600 ( 6:00 AM ) | 22:30 ( 10:30 PM ) | Misner, Sean
      16.0 | 0600 ( 6:00 AM ) | 22:30 ( 10:30 PM ) | John Percin

      NOTE: Crew of 19 all worked 16 hours straight on June 29, 2013
      with just a half-hour break for lunch from 12:00 PM to 12:30 PM.

      TITLE of Officer-in-charge: TFLD(t)
      Officer-in-charge ( signature ): xxxxx
      —————————————————————————–

      The City of Prescott Payroll records for Granite Mountain for Saturday, June 29, 2013 that were obtained by the Arizona Department of Occupational Safety and Health Department ( ADOSH ) also reflect these same 16 hours of work ( 8 hours of regular time and 8 hours of overtime ) ending at 10:30 PM the night of Saturday, June 29, 2013.

      Did Robert mention anything about this on Saturday night, June 29, 2013?

      Was he AWARE that whoever turned in that time sheet for Saturday had Robert ( and the ENTIRE Granite Mountain Crew ) working ‘overtime’ until 10:30 PM that night?

      • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

        Also… ( if you don’t mind me asking )… it is now perfectly obvious that the entire Granite Mountain crew was DISMISSED from their current ‘work assignment’ ( The West Spruce and Mount Josh fire(s) ) sometime in the later afternoon / early evening of Saturday, June 29, 2013… with the FULL expectation that the next day ( Sunday, June 30, 2013 ) was to be one of their regularly scheduled DAYS OFF ( Normally Sundays and Mondays ).

        Do you recall exactly what TIME Robert then received some kind of RECALL notice that evening informing him that the next day ( Sunday ) was NOT going to be a day off anymore?

        Was it a phone call, an email, a text?

        WHO did he receive that RECALL notice FROM?

        Thanks in advance.

          • Gary Olson says

            WTKTT – Not now, not from that person, not ever. The time issue has absolutely nothing to do with why the crew died. You are not the OIG looking at the City of Prescott.

            Surprise the hell out of me and apologize and just move on. You can’t help yourself…it’s not your fault…no, it really is.

            • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

              The person to whom the questions up above were directed ( not you ) has two choices.

              Answer… or NOT answer.

              Either one is fine.

              I just thought I would ask because I just thought they
              might know.

              There are only 2 possible scenarios here.

              Either the GM crew was DISMISSED early Saturday afternoon, and they set about doing the ‘normal’ things that Hotshots do when they know they don’t have to work the next day…

              OR… somehow all the public reports about where they were and what they were doing Saturday night are WRONG… and the officially submitted timesheets are CORRECT.

              But if it’s the latter, and the Granite Mountain Hotshots really WERE ‘working overtime’ until 10:30 PM on Saturday, June 29, 2013, then that also means they were violating the established 2:1 rest regulations the night before they died.

              So that’s directly relevant to any ‘discussion’ about what their state of ‘readiness’ might have been come Sunday morning.

              • Gary Olson says

                Yes, but since this is the court of public opinion and not a court of law, we already have ample evidence they were not working until 2230 through circumstantial evidence and anecdotal stories.

                So…I just don’t think the return on your investment (ROI) of your substantial brain power and analytical skills are being put to their best use on this particular issue.

                The onus is on the City of Prescott and the USFS at this point to prove otherwise. You have them right where they deserve to be.

                • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

                  Suddenly this comment thread is all ‘messed up’ and things seem to be appearing as indivdual ‘parent’ comments… so not sure if this will end up in the right place… but here goes.

                  I am still open to hearing any alternate EXPLANATION for why it definitely appears as if the Granite Mountain Hotshots were ‘padding their timesheets’ on the day before they died.

                  If they were NOT ‘padding their timesheet’ for Saturday, June 29, 2013, then they were then in violation of the 2:1 work:rest rule and they should have never accepted the assignment for Yarnell.

                  Someone left a PUBLIC comment up above who appears to be someone who might be able to shed a little more light on this… and I asked ( as politely as this medium allows ) some very simple questions.

                  That person ( not YOU ) can choose to answer or not answer.

                  Option 1 would be helpful… but Option 2 is OK too.

      • Claire Caldwell says

        My husband was notified at 9:20 pm on June 29th that he and his crew would be available the following morning. He called half the crew, squad B and notified them that they would in fact be going to work the following day even though they had already worked for two weeks straight. I do not know why they would have been paid for what was supposed to have been a two day break but it is at no fault of their own. Furthermore, a single beer and two weeks on the line wouldn’t qualify as a reason to impair their judgment. Arm chair critics can judge and hate ALL they want but they will NEVER take away the legacy that GMIHC leaves behind!

        • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

          Reply to Claire Caldwell post on December 11, 2015 at 9:06 pm

          >> Claire Caldwell said…
          >>
          >> My husband was notified at 9:20 pm on June 29th that
          >> he and his crew would be available the following morning.

          Thank you, Ms. Caldwell.

          Again… I am very, very sorry for your loss.

          It wasn’t necessary and I hope one day we all find out more about why it really happened.

          The other part of my original question was…

          Notified by WHO?… and in what manner ( phone, email, text? ).

          I’m assuming it would have been Jesse Steed? By phone?

          >> Claire Caldwell also said…
          >>
          >> He called half the crew, squad B and notified them that
          >> they would in fact be going to work the following day
          >> even though they had already worked for two weeks
          >> straight.

          Yes. You mentioned how EXHAUSTED Robert ALREADY was that night.

          The WFF industry requires a mandatory 2 days off after working for 14 days… but on Friday, June 28, 2013 the SWCC ( Southwest Regional Coordinatiing Center ), the agency responsible for ‘dispatching’ your husband’s Type 1 National Hotshot Crew, showed ‘Granite Mountain’ as being RESET and eligible for another 14 day tour.

          It was because they had spent June 26 and June 27 ‘at home’, and not assigned to a fire, and just doing things at Station 7.

          Whether or not that really was a legitimate ‘reset’ ( which made them technically available for assignments for ANOTHER 14 straight days ) is not for me to say.

          Personally… I think they already DESERVED at least those 2 FULL days TOTALLY OFF ( and just resting ) and should have never been eligible at all for that Yarnell assignment on June 30, 2013.

          >> Claire Caldwell also said…
          >>
          >> I do not know why they would have been paid
          >> for what was supposed to have been a two day break
          >> but it is at no fault of their own.

          They were paid (overtime rate) for working until 10:30 PM on Saturday night because that is what the CTR ( Crew Time Report ) for Granite Mountain SAID were the number of hours they had worked that day.

          Someone turned in that timesheet, and it was SIGNED by some unknown person with the title of TFLD(t) ( Task Force Leader Trainee ) who had been their supervisor on the ‘Mount Josh’ fire that Saturday, June 29, 2013.

          Again.. that official Granite Mountain CTR ( Crew Time Report ) that was turned in for Saturday, June 29, 2013 is here…

          http://media.phoenixnewtimes.com/9122596.0.pdf

          The ‘approval signature’ of the as yet unnamed TFLD(t) is at the bottom.

          >> Claire Caldwell also said…
          >>
          >> Furthermore, a single beer and two weeks on the line
          >> wouldn’t qualify as a reason to impair their judgment.

          Not in and of itself, no.

          See other comments somewhere on this thread from a Mr. Gary Olson, a former Hotshot himself.

          The situation on Saturday night was unusual in that the men weren’t just being allowed to sleep without being ‘released’ from their current fire assignment, as was the case during the Doce fire just prior to the West Spruce and Mount Josh assignment(s) where the crew was REQUIRED to just sleep at Station 7 and remain ‘on call’.

          On Saturday afternoon, June 29, the crew had been officially DISMISSED following that day of work on the Mount Josh fire with every expectation and understanding that the next day, Sunday, June 30, 2013 was a FULL DAY OFF.

          No fire assignment.
          No reporting to Station 7.
          A FULL DAY off ( hopefully spent just RESTING ).

          So they were all FREE to just go do whatever it is they do when they are under the impression they don’t even have to report to work the next day.

          NOTE: Former Hotshot Kyle Dickman even reported in his book that GM crewmember John Percin had suffered and actual heatstroke that Saturday during the Mount Josh assignment, yet he would still be part of the RECALL from ‘time off’ later that Saturday night and required to work Yarnell.

          So no one is ‘blaming’ any of the crew for just doing what Hotshots do whenever they are TOLD they have a FULL DAY OFF the next day.

          >> Claire Caldwell also said…
          >>
          >> Arm chair critics can judge and hate ALL they want but they will
          >> NEVER take away the legacy that GMIHC leaves behind!

          Nor should they… but this was a ‘National tragedy’ of historic proportion, and there are still many details about how it all went down that need to be discussed in order to afford the best opportunity for making sure it never happens again.

          Which is, I’m sure, exactly what ALL of those men would want, were they still here to express their opinions.

          Thank you again for taking the time to respond.

          You didn’t have to… but you CHOSE to do so… and I appreciate it.

          One more time…

          I am ( truly ) very, very sorry for your loss.

          • Gary Olson says

            You were right…and I was wrong. It’s not a contest, but I like to keep track of the times I misjudge a situation. I make fewer mistakes that way in the future. As you said, “It’s not rocket science.”

    • Joy A Collura says

      just reading this—reply in CAPS as I read it below—

      Claire Caldwell says WELCOME TO THIS SITE AND I KNOW IT WAS NOT SO EASY—BUT I WARMLY WANT TO SAY SORRY FOR YOUR LOSSES AND IT HAS BEEN NICE TO HEAR THROUGH YOUR FRIENDS TO ME AND SUCH LIFE IS GIVING YOU A RARE KIND OF STRENGTH BECAUSE YOU ARE FINE PEACEFUL PERSON AND DESERVE ALL THE BEAUTIFUL THINGS LIFE HAS TO OFFER—

      Claire Caldwell says

      December 10, 2015 at 2:08 pm

      Dear John,
      My name is Claire Caldwell. I am the widow of Robert E Caldwell.
      I am horrified and disgusted in your article. I AM APOLOGETIC. I REALLY AM AT A LOSS FOR WORDS BECAUSE WE ALL HAVE BEEN DISCUSSING IT BEFORE THE ARTICLE ON ANOTHER LINK AND WE ALL HAD NO IDEA JOHN WAS POSTING HIS OWN ARTICLE WITH THE ACTUAL DROPBOX OF THE REPORTS. I CANNOT EVEN PEAK TO THE DROPBOX AREA–WITH MY CURRENT STRENGTH I KNOW I COULD NOT HANDLE IT AND AWAIT TO DO IT WITH A GMHS LOVED ONE…You have managed to dig a knife a little deeper yet again into my already broken heart. DELIVERY. TONE. TIMING. I UNDERSTAND BUT NONE OF US DISCUSSING WERE PAYING MIND TO WHAT TIME OF YEAR IT IS—I ONLY KNEW IT WAS HOLIDAY SEASON BECAUSE AS I TOOK SONNY OFF LIFE SUPPORT I SAW THE TWINKLE OF A LIGHT ON THE ICU HALLWAY CHRISTMAS TREE AS A NURSE TOLD ME HE WAS THE MAN WHO TOOK THE GMHS BELONGINGS AWAY FROM THE DEPLOYMENT AREA—OTHERWISE I WOULD NOT KNOW IT WAS CHRISTMAS IN 2 WEEKS…Merry Christmas to youMERRY CHRSISTMAS TO YOU AND YOUR LOVED ONES…HAPPY NEW YEAR 2016 would like to state to any and all who will listen that the last night I was able to spend with my beloved husband went like this. He called me to let me know he would be coming home around 7pm on June 29th. I was so happy that I would finally after two weeks get to have a night at home with him. I cooked him a steak and I gave him a coors. You’re damn right I did. He deserved a beer after working harder than you sir or most men in this country will have ever worked a single day in their entire lives. By the way, that was perfectly legal and within the boundaries of his agreements with the hotshot crew he had dedicated his life to! And I brewed him a pot of coffee while he took his first shower in weeks. You see, he was so spent I SAW THAT SPENT LOOK— IT WAS THERE ON THE MORNING OF JUNE 30 AS WELLthat he needed coffee to be able to stay awake long enough to spend a half hour with his wife after dinner. But he did. And that was what the last night that I ever got to spend with Robert looked like.SUCKS BIG TIME—TEARS FALLING/THROAT CHOKED—WHY THE HELL IF YOU ARE READING THIS AND YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE—WHY CAN’T YOU SPEAK UP—HOW CAN YOU READ WHAT SHE JUST WROTE AND THINK SHE DOES NOT DESERVE TO HEAR IT— :’‑(

      PLEASSEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE Yeah! He partied hard that night! He ate his steak and he drank a single beer and he showered and he came to bed to be with his wife. And he fell asleep by 9:30. I stayed up and watched him sleep because he was so beautiful and I admired his work ethic and the incredible MAN that he was and because I loved him more than Ive ever loved anyone or anything in my life.I KNOW YOU DO—I SAW IT ON THE WEATHER CHANNEL PIECE AND WHEN YOU FIRST LEARNED OF IT FOR THE WORLD TO SEE Since you’re so curious and so ruthlessly intrusive… THE REPORTS ARE IMPORTANT TO ME TO MATCH UP TO WHAT THE NURSE SAID HE CARRIED OUT TO WHAT THE MEDICAL EXAMINER WROTE TO WHAT YCSO WROTE BECAUSE IN MY OWN SPOT I KNOW THERE IS MISSING ELEMENTS AND ALL STONES SHOULD BE TURNED…I CANNOT PEAK AT REPORTS BUT PEOPLE KNOW I AM LOOKING FOR CONTENT LIST IN THIS—Now you know. How dare you accuse him of doing less or being less than the man he was. You make me sick and you cause me so much pain!WE ALL HAVE A DAY OF VENTS AND PAIN BUT DON’T THINK TWICE ABOUT THIS SITE—SHIT, YOU HAVE ONE OF THE BEST SMILES OUT THERE—THAT’S WHAT IS BEST FOR YOU IN THIS BECAUSE FOR DECADES PEOPLE WILL KEEP TALKING ABOUT THE YHF AND DO NOT WASTE YOUR PRECIOUS ENERGY ON THE THINGS THAT WON’T CHANGE BUT HAVE HOPE THAT ALL WE DO HERE WAS FOR SOMETHING AND CHANGE HAPPENS AND WE HOPE TO GET MORE DOCUMENTS TO SURFACE…WE ALL CANNOT SAY WE UNDERSTAND EXCEPT PEOPLE LIKE BOB POWERS How dare you! PRAY THAT THIS SITE BE CLOAKED WITH HIS GRACE AND LOVE…Merry Christmas!

      December 11, 2015 at 9:06 pm

      My husband was notified at 9:20 pm on June 29th that he and his crew would be available the following morning. He called half the crew, squad B and notified them that they would in fact be going to work the following day even though they had already worked for two weeks straight.THANK YOU I do not know why they would have been paid for what was supposed to have been a two day break but it is at no fault of their own. Furthermore, a single beer and two weeks on the line wouldn’t qualify as a reason to impair their judgment.EXACTLY Arm chair criticsI HAVE TO ASK BECAUSE I HEARD THIS EARLIER THIS YEAR BUT WHAT DOES T MEAN??? NOONE IS JUDGING OR CRITICING YET DICUSSING OPENLY AND FREELY TO PROPERLY ASSESS THE YHF can judge and hate ALL they wantNO HATRED ON THIS SITE— but they will NEVER take away the legacy that GMIHC leaves behind! EXACTLY—

  21. says

    Thank you for digging out the facts.
    As a former Hotshot Supe. it comes down to leadership of the leader.
    I had the 10 fire orders and the 10 commandments that I always considered primary factors of my leadership. Heck in 1961 when I accepted the hotshot job that was about all we had.

  22. Rich says

    Please clarify use of word “drugs” as there is a difference between this term used in the article and “drugs of abuse” used in the toxicology reports.

    “the most confident critics are generally those who know least about the matter criticized”
    -Ulysses S. Grant

  23. Bob Powers says

    Thank you John now we have many more questions than answers to slowly uncover.

    It is a serious and open question that has come to light. Knowing many were partying adds to the concern of the BAC report.
    It might also be noted 3 of the 5 with no BAC were Married and one was a Devout son of a minister.
    Who also preached the Gospel. The Last was a well known person in Prescott Travis Turbyfill.
    Those are a possible note to the finding of no BAC. Which is a open question to the crews condition.

  24. Robert the Second says

    “The search for truth implies a duty. One must not conceal any part of what one has recognized to be true.”

    Albert Einstein

  25. Lance Honda says

    I have read all the comments on this site and have read most of the articles, stories and as much information and opinions as I could find on this tragedy. The common thread that I see, and that I have seen in all the fatality and near miss fires and other tragedies/accidents I have studied and read up on, is the acceptance/common practice and habitual poor decision making at every position level, in too many situations on the job and in lifestyles affecting the job. The mix of poor decision making vs safe decision making was too uneven for too many times with too many people. Sounds like that pattern was fully imbedded in their culture and ti all came together on this incident at the worst possible time. My guess (that’s all it is ,given my ignorance of the intimacies of how the crew performed and how all the relationships and personalities worked on GMHS, Knowing the truth, the intimate truths will help some crews “family units” learn and incorporate, validate and/or improve safe solid practices. Some crews (families) will stay in the same rut and behave the same way they always have. We already know who those crews/teams/people are. The statement “chance favors the well prepared” is true. But a more accurate and complete statement is, we are more often more lucky than we are good in a dangerous environment doing dangerous work. Not sharing all the information we can, to give the most in depth picture we can will not help those willing and desiring to learn to keep next year’s fire fighters safe and whole, so that no one else’s family member will lose someone they love.

    No more body bags

  26. WantsToKnowTheTruth says

    Thank you, Mr. Honda.

    That’s an amazing summary of the ‘situation’ and all WFF should read it.

    It totally supports one of the ongoing ‘themes’ of this ongoing ‘discussion’…

    “There can be no TRUE understanding without first knowing the TRUTH ( all of it )”.

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