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100 Club of Arizona hits $3 million in donations for hotshots

PHOENIX — The 100 Club of Arizona has raised $3 million to help the families of the 19 hotshots who were killed in June fighting the Yarnell Hill wildfire.

It’s the largest amount of donations in the club’s history. Ciara Franklin with the 100 Club of Arizona said the money is being doled out based on need.

“Paying off debt, providing health insurance for those unable to get it,” she said.

Franklin said the goal is to provide health insurance for the hotshots’ spouses and children, including those yet to be born.

“They may not see the money coming in as cash but we’re handling their bills and taking care of it,” she said. “Car loans, student loans and, in the future, legal advice, counseling and financial help.”

Chuck Tidey, the chairman of the Yarnell Hill Recovery Group, said he hopes to have every uninsured homeowner who lost property in the Yarnell Hill fire back into a new home by the end of the year.

Tidey said about 10 of the more than 100 homes destroyed didn’t have insurance. Donations will cover the cost of rebuilding or replacing that cost with volunteer labor..

Tidey said the main goal is getting all of the homes rebuilt and back on the tax rolls soon because the fire department and schools count on that money.

Tidey said he’s very concerned about where the money is going to come from to repair the 50-year-old water pipes that were damaged by heavy fire equipment rolling over them this summer. He hoped the money will come in the form of a community block grant.