COSTA MESA (CBSLA.com) — The Southern California mother of one of the “Hot Shots” firefighters killed in the Arizona wildfires over the summer is filing a $36-million lawsuit against the authorities who were in charge of the operation.
Grant McKee was one of the 19 “Hot Shots” firefighters killed while fighting the Yarnell Hill wildfire in Arizona when their position was overwhelmed by flames.
McKee’s mother, Marcia, says she is filing the lawsuit because she wants answers, and she believes she hasn’t heard the complete truth about the event that claimed the lives of her son and 18 other firefighters.
When asked how filing a lawsuit might help her find the answers she seeks, McKee replied, “Because I’m being heard. How else would I be heard? That’s the only way I know. I mean, that’s what people do.”
Through a recent complaint, McKee disputed a report that had found no suggestion of negligence that led to the tragedy.
“Liable public entities carelessly let the Granite Mountain Hot Shots move into a rugged, brush-filled area, where escape from the oncoming fire was impossible,” her court filing says.
There are also suggestions that those in charge deployed the unit carelessly and “failed to maintain consistent, effective communication with them.”
“I mean, I can see if two firemen died, that’s an accident,” McKee said. “But 19, I think there’s something more to it.”
McKee’s attorney, meanwhile, says that he does not expect to hear from the “entities” named in the complaint, and that he anticipates proceeding with the lawsuit by mid-January.