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Bodies of 19 AZ firefighters return home in procession

A caravan of hearses carrying the bodies of 19 firefighters killed in the Yarnell, Ariz., wildfire travels through Arizona as people stop to pay their respects Sunday, July 7, 2013.
July 7, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
The bodies of 19 firefighters killed in a wildfire last week in Arizona are back home.

A caravan of hearses left Sunday morning from Phoenix to Prescott. Hundreds of people, including firefighters and police officers, lined streets and freeway overpasses along the 125-mile route to pay their respects.

"It's overwhelming to watch this slow procession of 19 hearses," said a tearful Bill Morse, a Flagstaff fire captain who has been stationed in Prescott for a week helping Prescott fire deal with the tragedy. "The ceremonious air of it all. It's heartbreaking."

The procession lasted five hours. Inside each hearse were the American flags that were draped over the men's bodies at the site of their deaths in Yarnell. The flags will remain with the men until they're buried. After that, the flags will be given to their families.

A memorial service is set for Tuesday in Prescott. The firefighters will then be laid to rest in Prescott at funerals throughout the week.

Meantime, Brendan McDonough, the only surviving member of the Granite Mountain Hotshots, made his first public appearance since the tragedy. He thanked everyone for their support.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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