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Yarnell residents rebuild, lives moving forward is tough for small town

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YARNELL, Ariz. - "Today we gather to honor and to mourn 19 brave men... they were 19 heroes gone at the turn of the wind," said Governor Jan Brewer.

The City of Prescott marked the one year anniversary of the deaths of 19 wildland firefighters with a downtown ceremony.

It has been a rough year for those who call Yarnell home, it's estimated that about half of the people who lived there did not rebuild. This was already a tiny community of 725 when the fire roared through the community.

"Absolutely, falling on our knees crying, it was because it was so much love we had for this home and it was terrible," said Sally Dickman.

One year later the memories of the devastation and loss from the Yarnell Hill Fire are still fresh for residents of the mountain community. Some have rebuilt, and others are still in the process.

Sally and Terri worked the rebuild the Rock & Roses house destroyed by the blaze. They honored the 19 men who died as they battled to stop the flames as it approached their town.

"They are heroes; we definitely want to honor them this weekend," said Terri Palmburg.

Along the main drag of Yarnell, some business owners were reluctant to talk about the fire a year ago.

One said she was disillusioned because her uninsured home was not rebuilt. Another business owner said they are exhausted from the attention the tragedy has brought to their little town, and they just want to move on.

Some people drove in from the valley to show support for Yarnell. The Williams from Anthem said it seemed like the right thing to do today.

"It's just one of those things that happened, where you know where you were when it happened, kind of like 9-11," said Debbie Williams.

A woman who came up from Phoenix says she understands how some residents are fatigued.

"In the long run it's the people here who have to live every day in their home that was changed forever," said Shonda Watson.

"You understand that they're like, go away now, oh I'm sure they would love to see none of us ever again, so you come up, you buy lunch, you buy lunch for firefighters you see, and you enjoy your day. That's what you do," she said.
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