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Arizona mourns the loss of 19 firefighters

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Updated: 7/02/2013 4:52 pm
(NBC News) -- A solemn tribute at firehouse memorial as the community opens it hearts to the men lost fighting the Yarnell Hill fire.

"They saved us in Williamson Valley and then to lose their lives in Yarnell... you just can't get your brain around it," said Nancy Alder of Prescott, Arizona.

Nineteen shovels places in memory of the Granite Mountain Hotshot Crew, from a one-time firefighter overwhelmed by the sense of loss.

"Nineteen men lost their lives. People I'll never meet, but I'm there in spirit," said Michael Wahington of Prescott, Arizona.

Many of the firefighters left behind families, and wives who are moved by the memorials left on behalf of their men.

"They were heroes in our homes, in our community, people that they helped here," said Juliann Ashcraft, widow of firefighter.

An Honor Guard remains at the Medical Examiner's Office with the bodies of the fallen; the firefight itself is now in the hands of the Federal Government.

Crews are not expecting any breaks from the weather.

"Today there is a potential for even stronger winds," said NWS Meteorologist Jim Wallmann.

While 200 homes are feared lost as appeared to be the case from the air, crews on the ground have only been able as yet to confirm 50.

-- Jennifer Bjorklund, NBC News, reports
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