$36 Million Claim Filed in Yarnell Hill Fire

The first claim has been filed in the tragic Yarnell Hill Fire that killed 19 firefighters on June 30, 2013. The family of firefighter Grant McKee filed a civil claim that seeks in excess of $36 million.

The claim alleges negligence on the part of the City of Prescott, the County of Yavapia, and the State of Arizona in violating the 10 standard firefighting orders, ignoring the 13 watch-out situations, and various other strategic and tactical errors.

Here is a copy of the claim: YARNELL FIRE SUIT- notice of claim

Interestingly, the claim argues that because McGee was denied workers compensation benefits, the city of Prescott cannot claim liability protection under the workers compensation exclusivity principle. Under the exclusivity doctrine, workers compensation benefits are considered to be the “exclusive” remedy to an employee who suffers a LODD or injury. By virtue of denying McKee workers comp coverage the city opened itself up to liability.

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 40 years of fire service experience and 30 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.

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