Brendan is part of The Greater Talent Network Speakers Bureau. He lives in Prescott, Arizona. McDonough was the only survivor of Sunday's disaster. Would she grow up to view her dad as a coward? ", McDonough radioed back a brief reply to call if they needed anything and that he'd be with the buggies. is the lone survivor of the Yarnell Hill fire tragedy of 2013. Were the Granite Mountain Hotshots really made up of former municipal firefighters who trained to earn elite status? McDonough said. The two state investigations into the deaths of 19 members of the Granite Mountain Hotshots released to the public in 2013 did not include the complete autopsy and toxicology reports of the men who were killed on June 30, 2013 in the Yarnell Hill Fire. "None of us ever did it for money. talking about this. I'm kind of numb at that point. At 4:47, it was reported over the radio that McDonough's crewmates had been forced to deploy their individual fire shelters -- a last ditch step. Soon after, he began the long journey of therapy. With Josh Brolin, Miles Teller, Jeff Bridges, Jennifer Connelly. A firefighter walked up to Diane Helm, who was in her yard surveying damage after the fire. The Granite Mountain Hotshots were a 20-man wildland firefighting crew based out of Prescott, Arizona, 30 miles from Yarnell. You don't quit. ... Christopher MacKenzie and the crew’s sole survivor, Brendan McDonough. On June 30, firefighters with the Prescott Fire Department's interagency Granite Mountain Hotshots were overrun and killed by the fire. The only firefighter of a 20-person Granite Mountain Hotshots who survived the Yarnell Hill Fire nearly three years ago says it’s been “a tough life to live.” If you are interested in booking him for a speaking event please visit the link below. The Granite Mountain Hotshots formed in 2002 as a group within the Prescott Volunteer Fire Department. Only the Brave is a 2017 American biographical drama film directed by Joseph Kosinski, and written by Ken Nolan and Eric Warren Singer, based on the GQ article "No Exit" by Sean Flynn. I said, 'Okay.'". Once the smoke began to clear, Arizona DPS Paramedic-Officer Eric Tarr was lowered by helicopter to the area to triage any survivors and found what he later called a "moonscape appearance." Sun-bleached T-shirts from fire units across the nation, helmets, wilting flowers, rain-rippled handwritten notes, photos, and 19 sets of everything from shovels to crosses, bandanas and flags drape the fencing for two blocks. "...Until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His hand.". ... especially when no one ever will know what was going on with the Granite Mountain Hotshots during the final minutes before they died. By the time McDonough and the other Hotshots arrived in Yarnell on June 30, airtankers had already been dropping chemical retardant to slow the spread of the fire -- to no avail. Around 4:00 in the afternoon, however, everything changed. He was the only one to survive. A harrowing tale of resilience in the face of tragedy, My Lost Brothers is a powerful reminder of the heroism of the people who put themselves in harm’s way to protect us. #OnlyTheBrave, based on the true story of the Granite Mountain Hotshots only in theaters. You just overcome.". Nineteen firefighters from the Granite Mountain Hotshots lost their lives in the 2013 wildfire in Yarnell, Ariz. Brendan McDonough is the crew’s sole survivor. But at first, this one on a boulder-strewn hillside at 5,000 feet outside the small town of Yarnell, Ariz. seemed nothing out of the ordinary to the team of dogged firefighters dispatched in their white fire buggies that fateful day from nearby Prescott. It’s about who’s standing beside you. "I asked a million times, 'Why am I sitting here and why isn't someone else? And then came very bad news that smoke-choked afternoon. "I can see them in my head, playing with their kids," he said, pausing as his heart filled with emotion over the losses. So they kind of relayed to me, 'Hey, Donut, we got eyes on it,'" McDonough remembers his captain telling him. All 19 of his brother Hotshots had just been killed by the ripping Yarnell Hill blaze in the largest loss of life among firefighters since the 9/11 attacks. New Bill Could Boost Benefits for Some Arizona Hotshot Families. But the Granite Mountain crew's radios went silent as firefighters in Yarnell watched the fire front advance, and the 20th Hotshot grew increasingly anxious. Brendan McDonough survived one of the deadliest wildfires in U.S. history, an inferno near Yarnell, Ariz., that killed 19 of his fellow Granite Mountain Hotshots on June 30, 2013. McDonough is an uplifting speaker, whose courage to find support at his weakest has inspired others to find their own tribes of support. Initial reports indicated that one of the firefighters was not a member of the hotshot crew, but Prescott Fire Chief Dan Fraijo later confirmed that all 19 were in league with the Granite Mountain Hotshots. Granite Mountain Hotshots team leader Eric Marsh radioed through to let his commanders know the group had a predetermined safety zone. The winds that had been driving the fire away from the Hotshots began to turn 180 degrees, propelled by what some fire officials call a "perfect storm" of gusts up to 50 miles per hour. Nineteen of the 20 members of the Granite Mountain Hotshots, an elite crew trained to fight wilderness fires, died on June 30, 2013, as they battled a fierce fire outside the old gold-mining village of Yarnell, Arizona. I can't stop trying because I feel like they somewhat look to me because I'm the only one left," he said. The structural firefighting mentality “is dangerously seeping into the wildland realm and needs to be stopped,” Schoeffler warned. I was the only person they're going to see," McDonough said. The book is part of it, he told The Arizona Republicon Friday, saying he hopes people who struggle with addiction, grief and PTSD realize there's hope for a better life. Outside, a chain link fence has become a makeshift memorial adorned with welcome but painful reminders for the young man. My Lost Brothers is a gripping memoir that traces McDonough’s story of finding his way out of the dead end of drugs, finding his purpose among the Granite Mountain Hotshots, and the minute-by-minute account of the fateful day he lost the very brothers who had saved him. McDonough said he joined the Hotshots after some trouble with the law and credits the experience with helping him overcome his troubled teenage years. However, not all of the bodies were found inside the fire s… He could see them clearly enough to identify individuals as he left and headed toward a nearby highway used as a command center for the fire response. This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged. Photos of the 19 fallen Granite Mountain Hotshot firefighters and Brendan McDonough, the lone survivor, in Prescott, Ariz., in (Julie Jacobson . "I have no clue," says lone hotshot survivor Brendan McDonough. Lone survivor Brendan McDonough and Only the Brave moviemakers honor the Granite Mountain Hotshots killed in Arizona in 2013 Wasn't a bad decision.". McDonough picked a spot almost a mile down the hill, where he could see both the fire and the other Hotshots. And for some reason they left." And I came to a point where I just didn't have any more tears.". The men gave their lives to protect Yarnell. He was at what wildland firefighters call their trigger point -- time to make a move. Four years ago, the Granite Mountain Hotshots died battling a horrifying wildfire in Yarnell. Survivor: McDonough walks back to his seat after speaking at a memorial service for the fallen members of the Granite Mountain Hotshots on July, a week after the tragedy wiped out his team All wildfires can become dangerous. The crew had 11 kids among them, including McDonough's own two-year-old daughter, and three not yet born who lost dads they'll never meet. Key evidence that could explain why the Granite Mountain Hotshots moved from a safe location into a treacherous box canyon where 19 men died on … Nineteen firefighters from the Granite Mountain Hotshots lost their lives in the 2013 wildfire in Yarnell, Ariz. Brendan McDonough is the crew’s sole survivor. But by then the 21-year-old elite wildland firefighter -- whom his fellow Hotshots affectionately called "Donut" in a play on his last name -- knew the horrible truth that their own families did not yet know, as he sat in the seat absorbing the magnitude of what was happening. The board is considering a request from Juliann Ashcraft, the widow of one of the Granite Mountain Hotshots who died last year, for full survivor and retirement benefits even though her … I'd cried a lot. About the Granite Mountain Interagency Hotshot Crew Learning and Tribute Center. McDonough says the team could now see what was happening -- contradicting some accounts that they were unaware the fire was heading toward them. Brendan McDonough, 21, is the lone survivor of the 20-man team that went into the Yarnell Hill Fire as it spread throughout central Arizona. McDonough wonders why everything turned deadly that day too -- but he does not puzzle over Marsh's judgment or that of any other Hotshot. That was the last time McDonough talked to them. Granite Mountain]is a harrowing story of heroism in the face of natural disaster. "I walked into the shelter deployment site and determined that the voices I had heard were coming from still functioning radios. He has attended every funeral and visited each of the Nineteen's families. ", Tarr radioed in his awful discovery, "I have 19 confirmed fatalities. Here are glimpses of the men they were and what they leave behind. "This is where, you know, the best memories of my life will be.". On Thursday, the true story of those men who fought on … The 19th dead firefighter was from another group. "I sunk. Nineteen of the 20 members of the Granite Mountain Hotshots, an elite crew trained to fight wilderness fires, died on June 30, 2013, as they battled a fierce fire outside the old gold-mining village of Yarnell, Arizona. And he is determined not to let down the families of the Nineteen, either. "That's when the superintendent and our captain asked me to be the lookout," he explained. McDonough’s story of finding his way out of the dead end of drugs, finding his purpose among the Granite Mountain Hotshots, and the minute-by-minute account of the fateful day he lost the very brothers who had saved him. A rescue pilot described it as a "panic call" and it prompted Air Attack, the state command overseeing the fire, to bark, "Whoever is yelling on the radio, get off the air.". We've got 19 dead firefighters up on the hill. By John Dougherty. But his fallen brothers were the reason he was alive that day at all. Through hope, determination, sacrifice and the drive to protect families and communities, the Granite Mountain Hotshots become one of the most elite firefighting crews in the country. Yes. But images of his daughter crept into his head. The movie is a stirring dramatization, directed by Joseph Kosinski, based on a nonfiction account in GQ by Sean Flynn (and co-produced by Condé Nast Entertainment), of the real-life activities of the Granite Mountain Hotshots, heroic fighters of wildfires in Arizona. PHOTOS: Brendan 'Donut' McDonough Watched the Roaring Fire Turn on His Friends. The wildfire killed 18 of 20 members of the Granite Mountain Hotshot Crew. The wildfire killed 18 of 20 members of the Granite Mountain Hotshot Crew. Sunk into my seat, I sunk into myself," he said in the ABC News interview, finally breaking his silence over how the terrible incident unfolded, in which only he survived. No one. Why aren't they sitting here with me?'" This October, it’s not about what’s standing in front of you. And when Donut thinks of their fallen, he gazes down at the inked words on his arm, which end with hope. Every one of the Granite Mountain Hotshots, except for McDonough, was burned alive sometime after 4:30 p.m. on June 30, when the Yarnell Hill Fire suddenly whipped 180 degrees around and cut off their escape route from a scrub brush meadow to a nearby ranch. Inside the Granite Mountain Hotshots' station house in Prescott, in his first visit only weeks after the catastrophic loss, McDonough felt at ease -- enough to reveal his deep pain over not being with his friends, who were all like family to him, when they died in their boots. McDonough ejected the bullet, pulled out the magazine and tossed it and the gun in the backseat. The Helms were among the first to find out that a crew of 19 firefighters had died nearby. The Granite Mountain Hotshots were the first ever municipal firemen to become a hotshot crew, after years of training by their leader Eric Marsh. "No, I never question the decisions they've made," he said, seated in the ready room beneath crossed axes affixed to one wall. 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