Fallen Arizona firefighter's mother seeks permanent employee death benefits from city

  • Updated: August 5, 2013 - 2:35 PM

PHOENIX — The mother of one of 19 firefighters killed in an Arizona wildfire wants the city of Prescott to provide family survivor benefits reserved for fulltime employees.

Deborah Pfingston's 29-year-old son, Andrew Ashcraft, died June 30 with 18 other members of the Granite Mountain Hotshots while working a wildfire around Yarnell. An investigation is ongoing.

Pfingston says city officials promised they would retroactively reclassify the seasonal, temporary employees as permanent so the families could receive additional survivor benefits.

City officials, meanwhile, say they cannot legally posthumously reclassify the men as fulltime employees so their families can receive additional benefits, including health insurance.

City spokesman Pete Wertheim says six of the firefighters were permanent employees, while 13, including Ashcraft, were seasonal.

Pfingston plans a news conference for Tuesday in Prescott.

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