PHOENIX (7/3/13)--"Stunning" was how an Arizona State CU executive described the loss of six members and one former member who died while battling the Yarnell Hill Blaze in Arizona. The credit union is accepting donations to support the families impacted by the loss of the Granit Mountain Hotshots Crew from Prescott, Ariz.
The credit union will match up to $20,000 of direct contributions, and will recognize donors by name on its website.
The firefighters were employed by the city of Prescott, which is among the select employee groups served by Arizona State CU, based in Phoenix.
"There certainly were personal connections with some of these firefighters," said Paul Stull, Arizona State CU senior vice president. "Some people are understandably taking it very hard. There is great concern for the families."
The seven firefighters were among 19 who died while battling one of the worst wildfires since 1933. It was the biggest loss of firefighters since 9/11 claimed 343 New York Fire Department personnel (USA Today July 2). The fire was started Friday by lightning.
At least 8,400 acres were ablaze on Monday and 200 homes devastated in the towns of Glen Isla and Yarnell, 30 miles south of Prescott and about 85 miles southwest of Phoenix
Arizona State CU is prepared to assist members affected by the fire. The credit union will offer a 90-extension on loan payments, waive early withdrawal fees certificates of deposits, and provide emergency loans at a low-interest rates, Stull said.
In the immediate term, contacting displaced members who have been cut off from regular Internet access is difficult, Stull said. The local post office has set up postal service for displaced residents in a nearby town and the credit union has sent letters to members offering assistance.
"As far as those who may have lost their homes, we'll work with them on any insurance needs or anything else we can do to streamline that process to either to get them back into housing or settle the issues they have with any damage or destruction they suffered," Stull said.