Mother of Fallen Yarnell Hill Firefighter Files Claim Seeking $36 Million


McKee is the first person among any of the crew's surviving family members to make a claim of any type, although others have previously voiced their anger and dissatisfaction with the fire investigation, which was conducted by a task force composed of 12 local and national inter-agency fire experts, led by Florida Forester Jim Karels.

The day the report was released, Sept. 28, the father of fallen fireman Travis Turbyfill, 27, said the crew were not given adequate protection gear and that the report failed to include future recommendations for fire shelter technology development.

"There isn't a football player that goes on the field without pads and a helmet," David Turbyfill said. "You don't send a structural fire department guy into a fire without the proper protection gear."

McKee's lawyer, Craig Knapp of Knapp & Roberts, said he is aware of other families wanting more information but had not been officially retained by any. He also said none of the 13 entities served had responded yet to the notice.

ABC News and ABC15 have not yet been able to reach any of the those individuals or entities.

Knapp said the loss of a child is "everlasting -- it never goes away," and that valuing the life of a 21-year-old, as well as measuring pain and suffering in monetary figures was "not an easy job."

"She wants answers of what happened to her son," said Knapp of his client. "Most importantly she wants the truth to come out so that changes can be made for other hot shots crew members."

McKee said she is willing to settle outside court for $12 million, if the matter can be resolved in 60 days.

"There is no cure for grief," McKee told ABC15. She said the money doesn't mean anything to her, but hopes the claim will produce answers that will lead to policy changes to help prevent something similar from happening to other families.

McKee keeps four voicemails she has from Grant that she listens to every day.

In the last phone conversation she had with her son, McKee said she told him to be careful, to which Grant's response was: "What are the odds of me dying in a fire? Think about it Mom."

"I told him I loved him and still be careful," she said. "He said to me 'I love you too Mom.' That was the last time I'll ever hear my baby call me Mom."

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