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Dec 22, 2013 7:19 PM by Associated Press

Claims likely to derail firefighter benefit effort

PHOENIX - Two key Arizona legislators say financial claims from the families of some firefighters who died in a wildfire this summer will likely sidetrack an effort to give extra benefits to survivors of part-time crew members.

House Speaker Andy Tobin and Rep. John Kavanagh both say the chances of pushing though a package to even out the full-time and part-time survivor benefits are in doubt. The families of part-time firefighters received far fewer benefits than full-timers.

Families of a dozen members of Prescott's Granite Mountain Hotshots are seeking more than $220 million from the state, Prescott and Yavapai County.

A special House committee held hearings in October on ways to add benefits for the families of part-timers.

Nineteen members of the crew died battling a wildfire in Yarnell on June 30.

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