Yarnell Hill Fire: Prescott inquiry finds no evidence hotshots were promised promotions, full time

PRESCOTT, AZ - The City of Prescott is standing by its decision about benefits for the families of 19 firefighters killed battling the Yarnell Hill Fire, following an internal investigation.

Only six of the crew members were classified as full time, while the remaining 13 were "seasonal employees", marking a dramatic difference in benefits to be paid out to their families.

The fallen firefighters' families are now speaking out, saying their husbands and sons were working full-time schedules despite the "seasonal" classification.

The City of Prescott on Tuesday issued a release, saying it has reviewed all of its records, and none of the employment policies were violated.

"An inquiry has found no evidence that policies for promotions and hiring were violated and no improper promises were made to promote Granite Mountain Hotshots seasonal employees to permanent positions," the release stated.

Those questions have split the small town with some seeking to correct an injustice , while others say the law is being interpreted strictly as written.

Chief Darrell Willis of the Prescott Fire Department said he "never promised" any seasonal member of the Prescott Hotshots would be promoted to a permanent position.

He said hirings and promotions are required to go through a screening process, an interview with the Human Resources Department and then be approved by the city manager.

The press release went on to include that an employee cannot be promoted based on a "verbal commitment by a supervisor" and that supervisors are aware that only the city manager can approve such promotions.

Prescott Mayor Marlin Kuykendall said he is glad to know that there were no violations and hopes the city can move forward.

The city said it remains committed to working with the families of the fallen firefighters to ensure all available benefits are provided.


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