2 of 19 firefighters killed had ties to Tucson area

2013-07-01T17:15:00Z 2013-07-23T17:28:10Z 2 of 19 firefighters killed had ties to Tucson areaStaff, wire reports Arizona Daily Star
July 01, 2013 5:15 pm  • 

Two of the 19 firefighters killed Sunday in the Yarnell Hill Fire had ties to the Tucson area, officials said.

Billy Warneke, 25, lived in Avra Valley on the northwest side. He was a recent graduate of Pima Community College, also.

Also, Garret Zuppiger attended PCC, obtaining a general education arts degree in 2006.

Warneke and his wife, Roxanne, were expecting their first child in December, his grandmother, Nancy Warneke, told The Press-Enterprise newspaper in Riverside, Calif.

Warneke grew up in Hemet, Calif., along with his fellow Granite Mountain hotshot, Chris MacKenzie. He was a four-year Marine Corps veteran who served a tour in Iraq and had joined the hotshot crew in April, buying a property in Prescott, near where his sister lived, the newspaper reported.

Nancy Warneke said she called her sister after seeing the fire on the news.

"She said, 'He's gone. They're all gone,'" Nancy Warneke told The Press-Enterprise. "Even though it's a tragedy for the whole family, he was doing what he loved to do. He loved nature and was helping preserve nature.

It’s not known how long Warneke lived in the Tucson area.

Pima Community College said a William Warneke earned an associate’s of applied science degree in fire science in 2012.

Warneke was a first year member of the elite Granite Mountain Hot Shot crew based out of Prescott, said a news release from the North Tucson Firefighters Association.

The association said Roxanne Warneke is currently with family members. The family asked for privacy but said it was thankful for the community's prayers and kindness.

Additional information about Zuppiger was not availalbe.

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