Jul 5, 2013 9:18 PM by Lupita Murillo

Firefighters come together to help fallen firefighter's widow

TUCSON - A memorial service for 19 fallen firefighters who died in the Yarnell Hill fire is scheduled for Tuesday July 9th in Prescott.

Vice president, Joe Biden is scheduled to attend.

The following day, one of the fallen will be brought home to Southern Arizona.

On Wednesday William Warneke will be laid to rest at the Marana cemetery. He will be buried with full military honors. The 25-year-old firefighter spent four years in the marines and did a tour in Iraq.

"The pain that one of our firefighters feels is felt by all of us," says Golder Ranch Fire District Chief Randy Karrer.

Representing the Fire Chiefs Association, Chief Karrer made the death notification to Roxanne Warneke earlier this week.

"32 years in the fire service, and that is the most difficult thing I had to do in my career," he says. He made the notification along with Captain Dan Klement of the North Tucson Firefighter Association.

The Warneke's are expecting their first child in December. Three months ago the couple purchased a bank owned manufactured home. Warneke was remodeling the master bedroom and bathroom when he was called to fight the Yarnell Hill fire.

Chief Karrer says, "From what I've been told, he told his wife he would put it back together when he got back."

Chief Karrer says it will be completed.

"We're going to put her house back together and it's going to be a group effort and when she walks back into the house she's not only going to feel Bill's presence because he's going to be there as part of us, but I think she is going to recognize she's not going to be left alone," he said.

They are asking for the community's help with donations and labor. This will be a way of working through the healing process for firefighters and for the community.

"We're all feeling that sense of loss as well. So we want to make sure the community knows their efforts don't go unnoticed, it's that at this point in time I think they are dealing with the reality that bill is not coming home."

If you'd like to donate to the William Warneke Memorial fund, you can make a deposit at any Wells Fargo Bank Account # 6638768264.


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