Mother of deceased Granite Mountain Hotshot firefighter files petition with Arizona Supreme Court

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The mother of Granite Mountain Hotshot firefighter Grant McKee has filed a petition with the Arizona Supreme Court to review lower court decisions that rejected her wrongful death claim in connection with the death of her son during the Yarnell Hill Fire in 2013.

The petition, which was filed by Scottsdale attorney David L. Abney on behalf of Marcia McKee, raises four issues:

  • Whether the City of Prescott legally approved an Intergovernmental Agreement with the state that made McKee and the other 18 Granite Mountain Hotshots who died during the fire temporary state employees and therefore providing the state employer-based immunity from a wrongful death claim.
  • A jury should have been allowed to determine whether the state’s conduct in managing the Yarnell Hill Fire amounted to “willful misconduct” which would have nullified the state’s employer-based immunity protection.
  • Neither Grant McKee, or his mother asked for, nor accepted, any workers’ compensation benefits. Therefore, Marcia McKee did not waive her right to sue the state for causing her son’s wrongful death.
  • Is Marcia McKee entitled to assert claims of intentional infliction of emotional distress arising from the state causing her son to suffer a horrendous death and from the state’s cover-up of its wrongdoing?

Please begin Yarnell Hill Fire Chapter XXV here

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Chapter I, Chapter II, Chapter II supplement, Chapter III, Chapter IV, Chapter V, Chapter VI, Chapter VII, Chapter VIII , Chapter IX,  Chapter X, Chapter XI, Chapter XII , Chapter XIII, Chapter XIV,  Chapter XV,  Chapter XVI, Chapter XVII, Chapter XVIII, Chapter XIX, Chapter XX, Chapter XXI, Chapter XXII, Chapter XXIII and Chapter XXIV.

 

Questions remain three years after Yarnell Hill Fire disaster

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Hearses carrying the bodies of Granite Mountain Hotshots passes through Peeples Valley. Photo By John Dougherty

Hearses carrying the bodies of Granite Mountain Hotshots pass through Peeples Valley, AZ. Photo By John DoughertyNews Analysis

News Analysis

Jasper, Alberta—Three years ago today, at 4:42 p.m., 19 members of the Granite Mountain Hotshots were killed when a fast-moving wildfire entrapped them in a box canyon at the base of the Weaver Mountains west of Yarnell, AZ.

Since that day of wildland firefighting infamy, three books have been published that have yet to answer why the men were in a location they should never have been. And now, a major Hollywood movie is in production that will ultimately completely distort what happened on that tragic afternoon. (How could you, Jeff Bridges?)

More than 22,000 comments have been posted on this site, some of which have helped piece together much of what happened on the worst day of firefighting in the history of Interagency Hotshot Crews after two state-sponsored investigations failed to provide a clear explanation.

But the ultimate “Why”, remains sealed, locked in the code of silence that permeates the world of wildland firefighting where the fear of telling the truth falls a distant third to securing a high-dollar government pension and avoid being blacklisted.

[Read more…]