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Published: Wednesday, 8/7/2013

Surviving Arizona firefighter says he's still processing fellow Hotshots' tragic deaths


PHOENIX — The surviving member of an elite Arizona firefighting crew that lost 19 members to the Yarnell Hill Fire says he went “numb” after learning that the men he considered his brothers were dead, and he’s still processing the tragedy.

Brendan McDonough was the Granite Mountain Hotshots’ lookout June 30 and wasn’t with the rest of the crew when it was overtaken by flames.

McDonough told ABC’s “Good Morning America” in an interview aired today that he “sank” into the seat of a crew truck after learning of his fellow Hotshots’ deaths.

The 21-year-old says his emotions plunged further as he heard the ringing phones that other firefighters had left in the crew vehicle. He says he knew the calls were from family members trying to reach the fallen firefighters.

McDonough says he’s asked himself a million times: “Why am I sitting here, and why isn’t someone else?”

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