Juliann Ashcraft she's been denied the lifetime benefits she was counting on to raise her four children after her husband was killed in the Yarnell Hill Fire. (Source: CBS News)
Prescott city officials say that Andrew Ashcraft was not a full-time employee of the city's fire department and ineligible for lifetime benefits. (Source: Ashcraft family photo)
"Quite literally, my bills are being paid by the good people of the world who are giving donations, because the city of Prescott isn't doing anything for us," says Juliann Ashcraft.
PRESCOTT, AZ (CBS News) -
More than a month ago, 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots were killed in a fast-moving wild fire that burned through the small community of Yarnell in western Arizona.
While the community is supporting the families of the Hotshots, the majority of them will not receive full death benefits.
The fire that swept over the Hotshots left Juliann Ashcraft a widow. Her husband, Andrew, was 29 years old.
"I want to be able to just be mourning my husband, be supporting my children, be figuring out what our new normal is," Juliann Ashcraft said.
But she's been denied the lifetime benefits she was counting on to raise her four children. The youngest is 18 months old.
When asked if she thought the benefits would be much of an issue, she said, "No. As shocked as I was that my husband went to work and never came home, I'm equally shocked in how the city has treated our family since then."
All 19 Hotshot families will receive worker's compensation, and a one-time federal payment of $328,000. But the city insists Andrew Ashcraft and 12 others were seasonal employees and are therefore not entitled to the lifetime salaries and health benefits - worth millions - given to the six full-time Hotshots.
"I said to them, 'My husband was a full-time employee, he went to work full time for you.' And their response to me was, 'Perhaps there was a communication issue in your marriage,'" Juliann Ashcraft said.
Paperwork obtained by CBS News shows that Andrew Ashcraft did earn a full-time salary. And the local firefighters union told CBS News that of the 13 Hotshots denied full benefits, Ashcraft was the only one to work 40 hours a week year round.
City officials declined multiple requests for an interview but Thursday issued a statement, saying, "The City has fully complied with all of the laws and employment policies that direct survivor benefits."
"Quite literally, my bills are being paid by the good people of the world who are giving donations, because the city of Prescott isn't doing anything for us," Ashcraft said. "And now I have four kids and myself and I don't know what I'm going to do!"
Her plans may soon include a lawsuit against the city.
Wednesday, April 16 2014 2:06 PM EDT2014-04-16 18:06:48 GMT
An ailing Miley Cyrus has canceled her concert Tuesday night at Sprint Center.The notice came a matter of hours before she was scheduled to go on stage.A concert promoter tells KCTV5 that Cyrus is in theMore >>
An ailing Miley Cyrus remains in a Kansas City hospital and says she must cancel her St. Louis concert slated for Wednesday night. This comes after she unexpectedly canceled her Tuesday night concert in Kansas City. More >>
Tuesday, April 15 2014 6:32 PM EDT2014-04-15 22:32:39 GMT
LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - A Male High School student took her life shortly after posting a video online. The video remained online for a lot of the day Tuesday, even though the school system, law enforcementMore >>
A Male High School student took her life shortly after posting a video online. Unfortunately, teenage suicides are more common than you might think. Seven Counties Services, a behavioral health agency, said there were three times more suicides than homicides in Louisville in 2012 and Kentucky ranks number two in teenage suicide.More >>
Monday, April 14 2014 9:37 PM EDT2014-04-15 01:37:12 GMT
Sanitation workers in Dickson County made a shocking discovery Friday when they found an injured puppy in a landfill. Officials believe the dog was intentionally thrown away. "Anybody would've done theMore >>
Sanitation workers in Dickson County made a shocking discovery Friday when they found an injured puppy in a landfill. Officials believe the dog was intentionally thrown away.More >>
Wednesday, April 16 2014 2:55 PM EDT2014-04-16 18:55:56 GMT
Traffic is completely stopped in Henderson due to an overturned semi. A semi has overturned on the U.S. 41 North strip near Long John Silver's. Officials were called to the scene around 3:15 WednesdayMore >>
It happened on the U.S. 41 North strip near Long John Silver's. Officials were called to the scene around 3:15 Wednesday morning.
Saturday, April 12 2014 6:07 AM EDT2014-04-12 10:07:09 GMT
An incredible photo snapped Saturday at the iconic Pipeline on Oahu's North Shore is going viral. A mother humpback whale and her calf were cruising just offshore when a set rolled in. J.T. Gray of NorthMore >>
An incredible photo snapped Saturday at the iconic Pipeline on Oahu's North Shore is going viral.More >>
Tuesday, April 15 2014 6:28 AM EDT2014-04-15 10:28:24 GMT
ESTILL COUNTY, KY (WAVE) – After losing both his parents in a short amount of time, a community is rallying around an Estill County teen. Joe Snowden lost his mother in a car crash on April 10, just twoMore >>
Joe Snowden lost his mother in a car crash on April 10, just two weeks after laying his father to rest. Now Snowden is faced with covering all the funeral costs himself. More >>
1115 Mt. Auburn Road
Evansville, IN 47720