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>>

  • PHOTOS JUST IN: Devastation from Carlton Complex; 300 homes burned

    PHOTOS JUST IN: Devastation from Carlton Complex; 300 homes burned

    Saturday, July 26 2014 12:07 AM EDT2014-07-26 04:07:59 GMT
    TWISP, Wash. (AP) - The Okanogan County Sheriff says the Carlton Complex wildfire has many more homes than previously thought. Sheriff Frank Rogers said Friday that the Carlton Complex fire has consumed about 300 homes this month. His office previously placed the number at 150, but he said then he knew it would rise.>>
    TWISP, Wash. (AP) - The Okanogan County Sheriff says the Carlton Complex wildfire has many more homes than previously thought. Sheriff Frank Rogers said Friday that the Carlton Complex fire has consumed about 300 homes this month. His office previously placed the number at 150, but he said then he knew it would rise.>>
  • Throwback Thursday! Look At 'Sunshine Shelly' Through The Years!

    Throwback Thursday! Look At 'Sunshine Shelly' Through The Years!

    Thursday, March 20 2014 1:04 PM EDT2014-03-20 17:04:11 GMT
    KHQ.COM - It's throwback Thursday! Here is a slideshow we would like to share of Shelly Monahan through the years! For those of you who have been in Spokane for many years, and saw her through her "Sunshine Shelly" days, you will probably remember the Shelly from back in those days. Enjoy!>>
    KHQ.COM - It's throwback Thursday! Here is a slideshow we would like to share of Shelly Monahan through the years! For those of you who have been in Spokane for many years, and saw her through her "Sunshine Shelly" days, you will probably remember the Shelly from back in those days. Enjoy!>>
  • 44 Riverside homes destroyed or damaged in storm

    44 Riverside homes destroyed or damaged in storm

    Thursday, July 24 2014 3:46 PM EDT2014-07-24 19:46:53 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.>>
  • Top Stories from KHQTop StoriesMore>>

  • Fatal motorcycle collision on SR 291

    Fatal motorcycle collision on SR 291

    Saturday, July 26 2014 2:19 PM EDT2014-07-26 18:19:29 GMT
    SPOKANE, Wash. - The collision on SR 291 near mile post 9 is now fatal according to Sacred Heart Hospital.It was a auto-motorcycle collision that happened around 8 a.m.The accident closed down northbound lanes for almost two hours. We will update you with more information as we get it.>>
    SPOKANE, Wash. - The collision on SR 291 near mile post 9 is now fatal according to Sacred Heart Hospital.It was a auto-motorcycle collision that happened around 8 a.m.The accident closed down northbound lanes for almost two hours. We will update you with more information as we get it.>>
  • Progress being made on power outages

    Progress being made on power outages

    Saturday, July 26 2014 10:26 AM EDT2014-07-26 14:26:55 GMT
    As of Saturday morning, there are just less than 6,000 customers without power in the Inland Northwest. There are still more than 2,602 Avista customers without power but Avista says reinforcement crews continue to arrive to help relieve and assist other crews who have been working around the clock. >>>SEE LATEST OUTAGE UPDATES>>>>>
    As of Saturday morning, there are just less than 6,000 customers without power in the Inland Northwest. There are still more than 2,602 Avista customers without power but Avista says reinforcement crews continue to arrive to help relieve and assist other crews who have been working around the clock. >>>SEE LATEST OUTAGE UPDATES>>>>>
  • Fatal collision on eastbound I-90

    Fatal collision on eastbound I-90

    Saturday, July 26 2014 10:14 AM EDT2014-07-26 14:14:27 GMT
    SPOKANE, Wash. - Troopers are investigating an auto-ped fatal crash on I-90 eastbound near mile post 280. A 59 year old man was crossing I-90 when he was hit by a pick up truck. He died on the scene. Police say the driver does not appear at fault and don't believe drugs or alcohol played a factor.>>
    SPOKANE, Wash. - Troopers are investigating an auto-ped fatal crash on I-90 eastbound near mile post 280. A 59 year old man was crossing I-90 when he was hit by a pick up truck. He died on the scene. Police say the driver does not appear at fault and don't believe drugs or alcohol played a factor.The man who died has been identified as Dennis Stensgar.>>