PRESCOTT, Ariz. - The last photograph an Arizona firefighter sent his wife shows a moment of relative calm before his tragic death in the Yarnell Hill Fire.
The photo was sent by Andrew Ashcraft to his wife via text message, according to the Prescott Granite Mountain Hotshots. Ashcraft and 18 others were killed Sunday when the windblown wildfire overcame them north of Phoenix. It was the deadliest single day for U.S. firefighters since Sept. 11.
The 29-year-old Ashcraft was remembered as a fitness-oriented student by Prescott High School physical education teacher and coach Lou Beneitone, who taught many of the Hotshots.
"He had some athletic ability in him and he was a go-getter, too. You could pretty much see, from young freshman all the way, he was going to be physically active."
Beneitone said athletic prowess was a must for the Hotshots. "That's what it takes. You gotta be very physically fit, and you gotta like it, gotta like the hard work."
Ashcraft, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, was honored to be a member of the Hotshot crew, and "he just had a really sweet spirit about him," Elise Smith, a Prescott, Ariz., resident, told The Deseret News of Salt Lake City.
Ashcraft left behind a wife, Juliann, and four children, the newspaper reported.