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PHOENIX - Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett personally knew one of the 19 victims of the Yarnell Hill Fire tragedy.

Bennett spoke with News/Talk 92.3 KTAR's Mac & Gaydos about 29-year-old Andrew Ashcraft, one of the firefighters who lost his life at the Yarnell Hill wildfire.

During the conversation with Mac & Gaydos, Bennett recalled how one of his daughters was an inseparable friend of Julianne Ashcraft, Andrew's wife. He also said that his wife recently had contact with Andrew's wife.

"They ended up in a conversation about how much concern Julianne had every time Andrew went out on one of these fires, but they wrapped it up with how every time he comes home; and then seven or eight hours later we get word that he didn't come home from this one," he said.

When asked how he found out about the death of Andrew, Bennett said that he was informed through text messages from his family.

"Last night I got a text from my sister and she was one of the ones that had been talking to Julianne earlier in the day at church and then closely after that my mom saying that Andrew, Julianne's husband, was one of the 19 that had been killed."

Bennett concluded that even though the tragedy is alive in the hearts of many people right now, the tragedy will make Prescott stronger.

"We will all rally around the families of the ones that lost loved ones and it will make us stronger somehow," he said.


For volunteer, fundraising and other ways to assist those affected by the Yarnell Hill Fire, go to yarnellfallenfirefighters.com.

Mac & Gaydos,

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