The wind-whipped, lightning-caused fire destroyed scores of homes
and burned 8,400 acres (1900 hectares) before it was extinguished in
an area around the tiny town of Yarnell, northwest of Phoenix. The
deadly blaze captured the nation's attention for weeks and marked
the greatest loss of life from a U.S. wildfire since 1933.
The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages for the lives lost in the
so-called Yarnell Hill Fire and demands answers to what happened to
cause all but one of the Granite Mountain hotshots firefighters to
be overrun by flames on June 30.
"They want to know what happened to their loved ones and they want
to ensure that this tragedy never happens again," Phoenix attorney
Patrick McGroder III, who is representing the families in the
lawsuit, told Reuters.
Family members also seek a meeting with state fire officials to see
what went wrong and with hopes of developing policies, procedures
and other tools to change the way fires are currently fought,
according to the suit filed late on Wednesday in Maricopa County
Superior Court in Phoenix.
Named as defendants are the state and its forestry division, Yavapai
County and the Central Yavapai County Fire District. Also listed are
the fire officials who were responsible for managing firefighting
efforts in the days leading up to the time when the 19 men were
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This is the latest legal action taken in connection with the fallout
from the fire, with 162 affected property owners filing a lawsuit
this week seeking compensation for their losses.
Owners also said fire officials were to blame for the loss of
property and lives in the area, saying that they "failed miserably".
A state official declined to comment on the lawsuit.
(Reporting by David Schwartz; Editing by Eric M. Johnson and Jeremy
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