LAS CRUCES, N.M. — Several firefighters from Las Cruces left the city early Monday morning to attend the memorial service for the 19 firefighters killed battling the Yarnell Hill Wildfire in Arizona.
A group of 10 firefighters from the Las Cruces Fire Department will be among the several groups from all over the country expected to attend Tuesday's services.
"We really feel obligated to honor the fallen firefighters and to support their families," said LCFD Lt. Jason Floyd.
On June 30th, a group of hotshots were cutting lines when the fire quickly turned on them and took the lives of 19 brave firefighters.
Floyd heard the news through a notification system that informs him when an American firefighter has died.
He said he found it hard to believe so many firefighters had been killed.
"When that feed came up and that number was 19, I thought it was an absolute typo," Floyd said. "it can't be, there's just no way."
On Sunday the bodies of the firefighters were brought back home to Prescott in a somber 100 mile procession.
Floyd said as a firefighter what's most difficult is how a death affects loved ones.
"We think about their families, their children, their mothers and fathers and those that are left behind," Floyd said. "That's what haunts a firefighter."
Firefighters with the LCFD said the loss of so many lives brings absolute devastation to the service and they expect the memorial to be filled with emotion in what is one the deadliest wildfire tragedies in decades.
"I'm sure it's going to be very painful to witness some of the sights and the images," Floyd said.
The memorial will take place at 11 a.m. in Prescott Tuesday morning.