Widow Reveals Texts From Doomed Firefighter - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Widow Reveals Texts From Doomed Firefighter

Juliann Ashcraft Juliann Ashcraft
Andrew Ashcraft, 29, was dad to four kids. Andrew Ashcraft, 29, was dad to four kids.

NBCNEWS.COM - Holding back tears, Juliann Ashcraft described text messages and photos she and her husband exchanged just before he died. Nineteen men, members of an elite "Hotshot" team, died Sunday battling the out-of-control wildfire Sunday outside Yarnell, Ariz.

Her husband, Andrew, 29, was a former "rookie of the year" on the team and the father of four children, all younger than the age of 6.

While her husband was on a break during the early stages of battling a massive fire on Sunday, Ashcraft said she texted pictures of their kids swimming. He sent back a picture of the fire, which he described as "wild," that would ultimately claim his life.

"He sent a photo of where he was sitting and what the fire looked like for them, at their lunch spot," Ashcraft said on TODAY Tuesday. "It still did not look as catastrophic as it turned out to be, but it was interesting to have that perspective, to know what life was like for him on the fire lines and know what he risked day in and day out."

She responded by asking whether he and his crew would be sleeping in the field that night."Of course, there was no reply," she said. "They all laid out there that night."

Officials have called the fire the worst wildland tragedy in 80 years. Do you or a loved one work for a Hotshot crew? Click here to share your story The elite team, Ashcraft said, were like a family. "They were heroes in our home, they were heroes in our community," she said. "They were heroes to the people that they helped there. Our kids will remember them as heroes as well."

"It was everything to him. Outside of the love he shared for his family members, hotshot firefighting was his life," his wife said. "He had his priorities in line, but when he was there, he would tell me, ‘They say jump and I'd say, how high.'

Their main goal was to save lives. "They loved what they did. These men worked together," she said. "They lived together, they fought fires together, and they died together doing what they loved."

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Coverage criticism leads to new conversation about homelessness in Spokane

    Coverage criticism leads to new conversation about homelessness in Spokane

    Thursday, July 20 2017 10:16 PM EDT2017-07-21 02:16:44 GMT

    SPOKANE, Wash. - This story originated as a post to KHQ, from a viewer, upset about this homeless camp below Kendall Yards. After the initial report on Facebook, I got a lot of comments -  many people were offended about how i described the camp. One person who was very vocal, was Ellie. I asked if she would meet with me - and she said yes. As upset as she is with our coverage - she welcomed the chance to make others understand that this is a conversation 

    >>

    SPOKANE, Wash. - This story originated as a post to KHQ, from a viewer, upset about this homeless camp below Kendall Yards. After the initial report on Facebook, I got a lot of comments -  many people were offended about how i described the camp. One person who was very vocal, was Ellie. I asked if she would meet with me - and she said yes. As upset as she is with our coverage - she welcomed the chance to make others understand that this is a conversation 

    >>
  • Washington's new DUI-E law takes effect Sunday

    Washington's new DUI-E law takes effect Sunday

    Tuesday, July 18 2017 10:02 PM EDT2017-07-19 02:02:25 GMT

    SPOKANE, Wash. - "He was my youngest, he was my baby bear," Tina Myer said about her son that was killed by a distracted driver. It was a distracted driver that killed Tina Myer's son Cody, hitting the 23-year-old as he was working as a flagger at a construction site in December 2015. He suffered severe injuries, and died several months later. Now Myer is joining Governor Inslee, praising a new DUI-E law.

    >>

    SPOKANE, Wash. - "He was my youngest, he was my baby bear," Tina Myer said about her son that was killed by a distracted driver. It was a distracted driver that killed Tina Myer's son Cody, hitting the 23-year-old as he was working as a flagger at a construction site in December 2015. He suffered severe injuries, and died several months later. Now Myer is joining Governor Inslee, praising a new DUI-E law.

    >>
  • N. Idaho Violent Crimes Task Force asks for public's help finding wanted fugitive

    N. Idaho Violent Crimes Task Force asks for public's help finding wanted fugitive

    Friday, July 21 2017 12:44 AM EDT2017-07-21 04:44:54 GMT

    KOOTENAI COUNTY, Idaho - The North Idaho Violent Crimes Task Force (NIVCTF) is seeking information leading to the arrest of 27-year-old Mallory Ann Helling. Helling is being sought based on a Kootenai County felony warrant for possession of meth with the intent to deliver. Helling is 5’3 tall, 135 lbs with brown eyes and brown hair. She was last known to be living in Post Falls, ID. Anyone with information regarding Helling should call the NIVCTF at 208-665-4455. 

    >>

    KOOTENAI COUNTY, Idaho - The North Idaho Violent Crimes Task Force (NIVCTF) is seeking information leading to the arrest of 27-year-old Mallory Ann Helling. Helling is being sought based on a Kootenai County felony warrant for possession of meth with the intent to deliver. Helling is 5’3 tall, 135 lbs with brown eyes and brown hair. She was last known to be living in Post Falls, ID. Anyone with information regarding Helling should call the NIVCTF at 208-665-4455. 

    >>
HD DOPPLER 6i
/
  • Top Stories from KHQHomeMore>>

  • Mad Minute stories from Thursday, July 20th

    Mad Minute stories from Thursday, July 20th

    Thursday, July 20 2017 5:58 PM EDT2017-07-20 21:58:05 GMT
    Mad Minute for 12/30/16Mad Minute for 12/30/16

    Here are the extended versions of the KHQ Local News 11 at 11 Mad Minute stories from Thursday, July 20th.

    >>

    Here are the extended versions of the KHQ Local News 11 at 11 Mad Minute stories from Thursday, July 20th.

    >>
  • Passing driver saves woman, six kids in car crash on Highway 2

    Passing driver saves woman, six kids in car crash on Highway 2

    Friday, July 21 2017 12:55 AM EDT2017-07-21 04:55:27 GMT

    LINCOLN COUNTY, Wash. - Lincoln County Sheriff's Office is crediting a total stranger from preventing a very possible tragedy. Deputies say a woman was driving a van with 6 young children when she fell asleep on Highway 2 near Davenport, driving off the road and into a pond. As most of the van went under, a passing driver pulled over, waded into the deep water, and helped get them to safety. First responders rushed to the scene.  No one was injured.  

    >>

    LINCOLN COUNTY, Wash. - Lincoln County Sheriff's Office is crediting a total stranger from preventing a very possible tragedy. Deputies say a woman was driving a van with 6 young children when she fell asleep on Highway 2 near Davenport, driving off the road and into a pond. As most of the van went under, a passing driver pulled over, waded into the deep water, and helped get them to safety. First responders rushed to the scene.  No one was injured.  

    >>
  • N. Idaho Violent Crimes Task Force asks for public's help finding wanted fugitive

    N. Idaho Violent Crimes Task Force asks for public's help finding wanted fugitive

    Friday, July 21 2017 12:44 AM EDT2017-07-21 04:44:54 GMT

    KOOTENAI COUNTY, Idaho - The North Idaho Violent Crimes Task Force (NIVCTF) is seeking information leading to the arrest of 27-year-old Mallory Ann Helling. Helling is being sought based on a Kootenai County felony warrant for possession of meth with the intent to deliver. Helling is 5’3 tall, 135 lbs with brown eyes and brown hair. She was last known to be living in Post Falls, ID. Anyone with information regarding Helling should call the NIVCTF at 208-665-4455. 

    >>

    KOOTENAI COUNTY, Idaho - The North Idaho Violent Crimes Task Force (NIVCTF) is seeking information leading to the arrest of 27-year-old Mallory Ann Helling. Helling is being sought based on a Kootenai County felony warrant for possession of meth with the intent to deliver. Helling is 5’3 tall, 135 lbs with brown eyes and brown hair. She was last known to be living in Post Falls, ID. Anyone with information regarding Helling should call the NIVCTF at 208-665-4455. 

    >>