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Granite Mountain Hotshot families to receive full benefits

PHOENIX — Three families of the Granite Mountain Hotshots who were killed in a wildfire on June 30, 2013 will be awarded full benefits, it was announced Wednesday.

The Prescott City Council will no longer appeal the decision by the Prescott Public Safety Retirement System Board to grant survivor benefits to the families of fallen Hotshots Andrew Ashcraft, William Warneke, and Sean Misner.

The Prescott retirement board ruled in January that the families of Warneke and Misner would be granted full safety survivor benefits, though the city council had disputed that since Warneke and Misner were only temporary workers, their families wouldn’t be eligible for benefits normally set aside for full-time firefighters.

In a similar case, a Yavapai County Superior Court judge had ruled in favor of Ashcraft’s family.

“The widows and six children are now entitled to Arizona Public Safety Personnel Retirement System survivor benefits. This includes monthly income as well as health insurance for the widows and children among other benefits.”

Attorney Pat McGroder says it was shameful that the wives of the Hotshots came under so much criticism for fighting to receive benefits.

“These are courageous women who lost their husbands and are now left with children to raise.”

As of Monday, attorneys for the firefighters’ families were lobbying for more time in order to reach a settlement with state.