Yarnell Hill Fire victims need federal aid to rebuild

PRESCOTT, AZ - A smiling Governor Jan Brewer exchanged a handshake with Obama on Tuesday after the president stepped off Air Force One en route to make a speech about housing and the economy at Desert Vista High School.

Andrew Wilder, the governor's spokesman, said Brewer pressed the president on her disaster declaration request for the Yarnell Hill Fire near Prescott.

Nineteen firefighters died battling the blaze on June 30, and Brewer has been waiting for a response from Obama to her request since mid-July.

According to the Associated Press, Brewer reminded the President it's been nearly a month and he assured her that he would look into it.

Approval would bring long-term federal recovery programs to Yavapai County to help survivors and businesses that didn't have adequate insurance. It also would allow a federal team to do flood prevention work.

Kathy Bunn is a fire victim who is desperately in need of that help.

"This was my front door," she said as she welcomed ABC15 crews with open arms, giving us a tour of what was once her home.

A small tent is just enough to keep her close to the place she's loved for 57 years. "My parent's willed it to me," she said.

As she looks around at what was once her home, she still has trouble believing.

"I can't believe this. It is such a terrible disaster. And when my house was gone, I just felt bad because a lot of people have been displaced."

Displaced and looking to rebuild, but starting over has been a challenge.

"How about a slap in the face and a kick in the rear end. I'm angry, disgusted. The whole thing is disgusting. Don't forget us we are trying to rebuild, we really are," said Kathy.

If the President does grant the request, those who lost their homes would qualify for a $200,000 loan to rebuild. Renters could get up to $40,000.


 

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