Bodies of 19 fallen firefighters arrive in Phoenix - FOX 35 News Orlando

Bodies of 19 fallen firefighters arrive in Phoenix

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A caravan of white vans carried the bodies of the 19 firefighters killed in the Yarnell wildfire to Phoenix Monday. People lined the highways to pay their respects. It was a heart-wrenching reality check to the magnitude of this loss.

The vans reached the Maricopa County Medical Examiner's Office shortly after noon Monday.

"So capable, so confident, bright shining diamonds and unlike most people who are just amazing physical specimens and so confident, these were some of the most humble and nice people that you would ever meet," said Cory Moser, Prescott Fire Division Chief.

"The only greater honor that we have than pulling them off that mountain and protecting them as we brought them down here today, was knowing them in the first place. I love those guys, all of us do."

They passed under the arched ladders of 2 fire trucks with a large American flag billowing from another vehicle on a turnoff road.

"I can tell you this. Driving through the communities of Wickenburg, Yarnell and into the valley, it was very difficult to drive. A lot of crying going on, seeing the members of our community lining the streets and showing their support. Very difficult in a wonderful way."

The medical examiner's office in Phoenix will conduct autopsies on all 19 fallen firefighters.

Maricopa County spokeswoman Cari Gerchick says Yavapai County authorities asked for help because the rural county didn't have the resources to handle so many casualties. Yarnell is about 80 miles northwest of Phoenix.

All 19 firefighters killed belonged to the Granite Mountain Hotshots crew headquartered in Prescott. They recently fought fires in Prescott and New Mexico before they were sent to Yarnell.

Flags flew at half staff Monday.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press modified.

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