Arizona

Aug 6, 2013 4:29 PM by Associated Press

Fallen firefighter's mother seeks death benefits

PHOENIX (AP) - 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.

Ashcraft's family plans a news conference Wednesday in Prescott that originally was scheduled Tuesday.

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 and 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. Thirteen, including Ashcraft, were seasonal.

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