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

Posted: Updated:
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>>

  • 10 Cheapest Houses For Sale In Spokane

    10 Cheapest Houses For Sale In Spokane

    Wednesday, November 27 2013 2:35 AM EST2013-11-27 07:35:08 GMT
    Whether you are in the market for an affordable place to live or are in the business of flipping houses, here are the 10 cheapest homes for sale in Spokane according to AllSpokaneHomes.com.>>
    SPOKANE, Wash. - Whether you are in the market for an affordable place to live or are in the business of flipping houses, here are the 10 cheapest homes for sale in Spokane according to AllSpokaneHomes.com. Yes, they all need some work and some need a lot more than others, but when your mortgage payment is around the $200/month range there's at least something to stay positive about.>>
  • INCREDIBLE drone video shows fire destruction over Pateros/Brewster

    INCREDIBLE drone video shows fire destruction over Pateros/Brewster

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 9:51 AM EDT2014-07-22 13:51:52 GMT
    KHQ.COM - Chelan HD Productions has given us permission to show this incredible video they shot with a drone surveying the damage done from the Carlton Complex Fire in the areas of Brewster and Pateros. This video is truly jaw dropping and really shows the level of destruction from the fire.>>
    KHQ.COM - Chelan HD Productions has given us permission to show this incredible video they shot with a drone surveying the damage done from the Carlton Complex Fire in the areas of Brewster and Pateros. This video is truly jaw dropping and really shows the level of destruction from the fire.>>
  • Do you know this person? Suspect still at large in Jitterz coffee stand robbery

    Do you know this person? Suspect still at large in Jitterz coffee stand robbery

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 5:14 PM EDT2014-07-23 21:14:57 GMT
    COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho - Coeur d’Alene Police Detectives and the North Idaho Violent Crimes Task Force are continuing to investigate the Robbery of The Jitterz coffee stand in the 2800 block of Government Way. The suspect is described as a white male, early 20’s, 5’08”-5’09”, very skinny build, white T-shirt, blue jean shorts.>>
    COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho - Coeur d’Alene Police Detectives and the North Idaho Violent Crimes Task Force are continuing to investigate the Robbery of The Jitterz coffee stand in the 2800 block of Government Way. The suspect is described as a white male, early 20’s, 5’08”-5’09”, very skinny build, white T-shirt, blue jean shorts.>>
  • Top Stories from KHQTop StoriesMore>>

  • 44 Riverside homes destroyed or damaged in storm

    44 Riverside homes destroyed or damaged in storm

    Thursday, July 24 2014 12:51 PM EDT2014-07-24 16:51:39 GMT
    RIVERSIDE, Wash. - Many families were still at the Red Cross Shelter set up at Riverside High School in Riverside this morning.An afternoon storm destroyed or damaged 44 of their homes and knocked down close to 100 trees in Riverside Village Mobile Home Park.Many residents said the storm looked like a tornado as it swept through their neighborhood.>>
    RIVERSIDE, Wash. - Many families were still at the Red Cross Shelter set up at Riverside High School in Riverside this morning.An afternoon storm destroyed or damaged 44 of their homes and knocked down close to 100 trees in Riverside Village Mobile Home Park.Many residents said the storm looked like a tornado as it swept through their neighborhood.>>
  • Action Cam: Lavender season at 'Fleur de Provence'

    Action Cam: Lavender season at 'Fleur de Provence'

    Thursday, July 24 2014 12:49 PM EDT2014-07-24 16:49:45 GMT
    KHQ.COM - Nestled at the base of the beautiful Green Bluff farming community just north of Spokane, Fleur de Provence Lavender Farm overlooks the ever-changing wheat fields of Peone Prairie. While miles away from our namesake in Provence, France, a visit to our farm provides a similar experience.>>
    KHQ.COM - Nestled at the base of the beautiful Green Bluff farming community just north of Spokane, Fleur de Provence Lavender Farm overlooks the ever-changing wheat fields of Peone Prairie. While miles away from our namesake in Provence, France, a visit to our farm provides a similar experience.
    >>
  • PHOTOS: Severe thunderstorms roll through the Inland Northwest

    PHOTOS: Severe thunderstorms roll through the Inland Northwest

    Thursday, July 24 2014 10:44 AM EDT2014-07-24 14:44:35 GMT
    SPOKANE, Wash. - A storm seemed to leave just as fast as it arrived Wednesday in Spokane. High winds blew over trees and utility lines, causing widespread power outages and some severe property damage. INSIDE>>>| Power Outages | PHOTOS |>>
    SPOKANE, Wash. - A storm seemed to leave just as fast as it arrived Wednesday in Spokane. High winds blew over trees and utility lines, causing widespread power outages and some severe property damage. INSIDE>>>| Power Outages | PHOTOS |>>