House Speaker Tobin Urges Swift Action On Death Benefits For Fallen Prescott Firefighters

September 17, 2013

An Arizona House committee got its first look Tuesday at proposals that would grant full state death benefits to some families of the firefighters killed in the Yarnell Hill Wildfire. 

Tobin Arizona House Speaker Andy Tobin testifies about death benefits for families of fallen firefighters before members of the House Public Safety, Military and Regulatory Affairs Committee. (Photo by Steve Shadley-KJZZ)

Most of the 19 hotshot responders did not get coverage because they were part-time workers.

House Speaker Andy Tobin told members of the committee to act fast to come up with a plan to pay state benefits to the families of the 13 part-time firefighters killed on June 30. The six others who died that day were covered. 

Tobin said he believes the firefighters should get full benefits even after they accepted the job as part-time workers. 

“I don’t want to lose first responders, because there may not be something there for those beneficiaries when there might be something there for others.  So, the way I answer that question is somebody’s going to have your back, and I believe it will be this legislature," said Tobin.

He said his series of measures also would create a public memorial at the site, help Yarnell rebuild and pay off debts the city of Prescott racked up during the fire. Tobin said if the House Committee can come up with a plan to get his proposals approved, he may ask Gov. Jan Brewer to call a special legislative session on the issue. 











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