Jul 1, 2013 9:26 PM by Nathan O'Neal

Yarnell Hill Fire tragedy hits close to home for local fire crews

TUCSON - The fire killed 19 firefighters on Sunday in Yarnell, Ariz., has been devastating for the fallen firefighters' families, but the tragedy has also been felt by local fire crews.

While the firefighters at Corona de Tucson may be hundreds of miles away from the Yarnell Hill fire in Prescott, it's been just as devastating.

"My heart just sunk," said Captain Todd Cupell of the Corona de Tucson Fire Department. "I'm still getting goose bumps just talking about it right now because of how close and how real it is."

Their hearts ache at the loss of so many lives - the single deadliest day for firefighters in a wildfire in 80 years. Sadly, coping with death is nothing new to the crew at the Corona de Tucson Fire Station.

"I've been on a couple of different tragic fires and it gets you," Cupell said. "It really affects you even if you're on the other side of the fire, even if you never happened to meet those people."

Dealing with those losses never gets easier.

"The only thing that I can ask is: Don't forget this. Don't forget those families that are suffering right now because they just lost their sons or daughters, husbands, fathers," Cupell said. "Don't let them out of your prayers... remember them and try to find something out of this so that they're not lost in vain."


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