'We got this'; Local firefighters band together to finish fallen Hotshot's home renovations
Photo: Video by kgun9.com
CREATED Jul. 8, 2013
PIMA COUNTY (KGUN9-TV) -The 19 firefighters killed at Yarnell Hill left behind much more than a heroic legacy.
They left behind homes, job, wives and children.
One local family who lost a husband and father in that fire is getting a helping hand from his 'brothers'.
On a hot, summer day they stood under the scorching sun, planning hours upon hours of work on a home, in which none of them will ever live.
"Billy had started working on this bathroom," explained Capt. Adam Goldberg of Northwest Fire District.
Bill Warneke's in-home workshop, including his gloves, sits how he left it, when he dropped everything to go where he was needed.
"Never got a chance to come back and finish it," said Goldberg.
It was a tragedy that left Warneke's pregnant wife Roxanne with an overwhelming amount of work, that is, until Bill's 'brothers' stepped in.
"She said 'This is where I want to live forever, and we were so excited about doing this project,'" explained Dan Klement of the Golder Ranch Fire District. "Basically, we said 'We got this', and that's where we're at today."
Monday, members from half a dozen local fire departments, churches, and the US Marine Corps started mapping out plans on the Marana-area home.
What began as a one-room job, now covers bedrooms, bathrooms, the kitchen and the yard.
"We're looking to give back to this family, essentially an 'Extreme Home Makeover Southern Arizona Firefighters' edition," said Goldberg.
They say it's a chance to help loved ones left behind and to work through the grief that comes with losing 19 of their own.
"I've been a Hotshot myself, so I can understand what they went through," said Matthew Karrer, a firefighter with the Picture Rock district. "We eat sleep, live together, spend more time with each other than with our families. So when it hits and it's a brother, it's family."
And it's a family that is working to rebuild.
The Warneke family, including Bill's wife Roxanne, opted not to go on camera but say they are excited about the renovations.
Construction is set to start in August, and the firefighters need your help!
To donate, contact Dan Klement via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call him at (520) 979-2658.