Local therapy dogs head to Arizona to comfort wildfire victims
Firefighters in Arizona are fighting to get a handle on the deadliest wildfire in 80 years. The Yarnell Hills fire has already burned nearly 8,400 acres northwest of Phoenix and it is zero percent contained. Nineteen firefighters died in the blaze Sunday.
On Monday, the names of those victims were released publicly, as their fellow firefighters and members of the community gathered to remember them. The men were members of an elite group called the Granite Mountain Hotshots. The group was part of the Prescott Fire Department and trained to fight wildfires.
The details on how the group got caught in the fire are under investigation. The average age of the victims was 27. Three of the men were expecting new babies. One firefighter leaves behind his wife and four young children.
A local group of therapy dogs has been invited to Prescott to help the victims’ families and members of the community.
The specially trained dogs and their handlers from Lutheran Church Charities of Addison were invited to help comfort those in the area.
The dogs recently traveled to Moore, Oklahoma, after the deadly tornado there.
They’ve also traveled across the country to help those affected by other tragedies, including the Newtown, Connecticut, school shootings, the Boston Marathon bombings and Hurricane Sandy.