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>>

  • PHOTOS: Westbound I-90 at Ellensburg back open after 16 vehicle crash

    PHOTOS: Westbound I-90 at Ellensburg back open after 16 vehicle crash

    Saturday, February 17 2018 5:23 PM EST2018-02-17 22:23:29 GMT

    CLE ELUM, Wash. - UPDATE: Washington State Department of Transportation says I-90 at Ellensburg is back open following a major crash Saturday morning. Westbound lanes were closed for several hours Saturday. Washington State Patrol urges drivers to use caution as conditions can change quickly.

    >>

    CLE ELUM, Wash. - UPDATE: Washington State Department of Transportation says I-90 at Ellensburg is back open following a major crash Saturday morning. Westbound lanes were closed for several hours Saturday. Washington State Patrol urges drivers to use caution as conditions can change quickly.

    >>
  • Second Bonners Ferry teen found safe in North Dakota

    Second Bonners Ferry teen found safe in North Dakota

    Sunday, February 18 2018 11:10 AM EST2018-02-18 16:10:32 GMT

    BOUNDARY COUNTY, Idaho - UPDATE: The Boundary County Sheriff's Office confirmed Saturday afternoon that Alisa Hannaman has been found and is safe. The sheriff's office says the other girl, 13-year-old Kaia Kramer is still missing as of Saturday afternoon. 

    >>

    BOUNDARY COUNTY, Idaho - UPDATE: The Boundary County Sheriff's Office confirmed Saturday afternoon that Alisa Hannaman has been found and is safe. The sheriff's office says the other girl, 13-year-old Kaia Kramer is still missing as of Saturday afternoon. 

    >>
  • Day care owner pleads guilty to trying to kill toddler

    Day care owner pleads guilty to trying to kill toddler

    Saturday, February 17 2018 10:46 PM EST2018-02-18 03:46:19 GMT

    MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - A Minneapolis day care owner has pleaded guilty to trying to kill a toddler in her home.    Forty-three-year-old Nataliia Karia entered the plea to attempted murder and third-degree assault. She also pleaded guilty to criminal vehicular operation of a vehicle for hitting a pedestrian, a bicyclist and another driver as she fled from her home in a minivan.

    >>

    MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - A Minneapolis day care owner has pleaded guilty to trying to kill a toddler in her home.    Forty-three-year-old Nataliia Karia entered the plea to attempted murder and third-degree assault. She also pleaded guilty to criminal vehicular operation of a vehicle for hitting a pedestrian, a bicyclist and another driver as she fled from her home in a minivan.

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

  • Plane lands on California highway median; no one injured

    Plane lands on California highway median; no one injured

    Sunday, February 18 2018 3:26 PM EST2018-02-18 20:26:52 GMT

    SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) - Authorities say a small plane has landed on the median of a Northern California highway but no injuries have been reported.    Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor says the pilot reported engine trouble before bringing the plane down Sunday on a grassy strip dividing State Route 101 in Santa Clara County.

    >>

    SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) - Authorities say a small plane has landed on the median of a Northern California highway but no injuries have been reported.    Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor says the pilot reported engine trouble before bringing the plane down Sunday on a grassy strip dividing State Route 101 in Santa Clara County.

    >>
  • 2 men sentenced to prison for cutting tree in national park

    2 men sentenced to prison for cutting tree in national park

    Sunday, February 18 2018 2:16 PM EST2018-02-18 19:16:23 GMT

    OLYMPIC NATIONAL PARK, Wash. (AP) - Two men are going to prison and must pay about $17,500 in restitution after pleading guilty to cutting down a tree in Olympic National Park.    The Olympian reports Michael Welches and Matthew Hutto entered the park at night wearing headlamps in 2013 and cut down a big leaf maple tree.

    >>

    OLYMPIC NATIONAL PARK, Wash. (AP) - Two men are going to prison and must pay about $17,500 in restitution after pleading guilty to cutting down a tree in Olympic National Park.    The Olympian reports Michael Welches and Matthew Hutto entered the park at night wearing headlamps in 2013 and cut down a big leaf maple tree.

    >>
  • Missouri youth baseball team moves forward with AR-15 raffle

    Missouri youth baseball team moves forward with AR-15 raffle

    Sunday, February 18 2018 2:07 PM EST2018-02-18 19:07:44 GMT

    NEOSHO, Mo. (AP) - A Missouri youth baseball team is moving ahead with a raffle of an AR-15 rifle despite criticism it received after a similar gun was used to kill 17 in a Florida high school.    Coach Levi Patterson told the Kansas City Star the fundraiser for the third-grade team in Neosho, Missouri, had been planned before last week's shooting in Parkland, Florida.

    >>

    NEOSHO, Mo. (AP) - A Missouri youth baseball team is moving ahead with a raffle of an AR-15 rifle despite criticism it received after a similar gun was used to kill 17 in a Florida high school.    Coach Levi Patterson told the Kansas City Star the fundraiser for the third-grade team in Neosho, Missouri, had been planned before last week's shooting in Parkland, Florida.

    >>