Ariz. firefighters' widows file additional claims - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Ariz. firefighters' widows file additional claims

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PHOENIX (KSAZ) -

Two widows of the granite mountain hot shots have filed claims with the City of Prescott seeking additional death benefits from the state's retirement system.

Their husbands; Andrew Ashcraft and William Warneke were two of the 19 firefighters killed while battling the Yarnell Hill Fire.

Those claims filed by the widows of the fallen firefighters could be the first step toward a lawsuit seeking additional death benefits from the state retirement system.

Ashcraft and Warneke among the 19 granite mountain hotshots killed while battling the Yarnell Hill Fire last June.

Their widows are asking the City of Prescott to have their deceased husbands retroactively placed in the public safety personnel retirement system which would provide lifetime benefits instead of a one time payout.
 
Even though neither Ashcraft nor Warneke contributed to the retirement fund.

Since they were considered "part time", the claims say both men worked the same hours as a full time worker and should, therefore be included in the public safety system.

The families asking the board to approve lifetime pension benefits for them and their children, college tuition waivers, health insurance, and other benefits.

The attorney representing the two widows told fox 10, "We believe they are entitled to the retirement benefits based on statutes that define those that are eligible. This is not about being greedy; it's strictly a legal issue as to whether or not these gentlemen are eligible for public safety personnel retirement system benefits, and we believe they are."

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