In the midst of the horrific loss of 19 lives, Arizona has an ongoing fire fight and people have lost everything to the flames. They tell CBS 5 News there aren't words to describe how grateful they are to the Granite Mountain Hotshot crew.
"I live, or I did live in Glen Isla, AZ," Robert Westall said.
Westall lost everything in the Yarnell Hill Fire.
"My house is gone. I lost a cat, two dogs," he said.
He watched as the flames crept closer to his home.
"And I don't mean a little bit. This was as high as these trees around here, easily," Westall said.
And he watched the crews battle to save it.
"You see that DC-10 come over the mountain, it's like a savior, you know? And we thought, cool," he said.
It's tough for Westall to talk about the moment he knew things had changed.
"I looked out towards the north and I never thought, honest as God is my witness, I never thought that the fire would come from that direction. Ever," he said.
Westall said he saw the hot shot crew working Sunday.
"We were only about three-fourths of a mile from them," he said.
He said he knew he had the best of the best fighting for him.
"I mean you think a Seal team is bad [expletive], you have no idea," Westall said.
His emotion doesn't come from losing his house. It comes from the loss of life that day.
"It's just the most noble, I've never been in a position for somebody to give their life for me. And I know they did. And it's just terrible to think of that," he said.
That's why even though it's unbearable, Westall wanted to share his story. He wanted to share the names of those who did live because of the amazing men who didn't.
"Burt and his wife, George and his wife and his daughter Jeanie," he said.
"I want everybody to know that if they didn't do what they did, none of these people would have gotten out. I mean, they saved my life. They saved my family, so thank you," Westall said.
Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.
Hawaii News Now
420 Waiakamilo Road, Suite 205
Honolulu, HI 96817
Main (808) 847-3246
News (808) 847-1112