Sole Surviving Arizona Firefighter Finally Speaks
Brendan McDonough says he isn't quitting firefighting
By Ruth Brown, Newser Staff
Posted Aug 7, 2013 9:26 AM CDT
Firefighter Brendan McDonough embraces a mourner near the end of a candlelight vigil in Prescott, Arizona.   (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson, File)

(Newser) – Brendan McDonough, the only member of the Granite Mountain Hotshot Crew to survive a deadly wildfire in Arizona in June, has given his first interview since the tragedy to ABC News. Contrary to earlier reports, McDonough—known to his colleagues as "Donut"—says the team was aware that the fire was headed toward it, and his crewmates were the ones to tell him to get to safety. "From where they were, they could see it picking up. So they kind of relayed to me, 'Hey, Donut, we got eyes on it,'" he says. He radioed back to say he was moving, and remembers the last thing he heard from his boss. "Jesse Steed, my captain, said, 'All right, I'll see you soon.'"

But McDonough says he couldn't have changed the outcome. "There's nothing I could've done besides have been up on the hill with them and someone else been in my position, to have been with them and died in my boots with them," he says. Despite the traumatic experience, McDonough tells ABC he isn't quitting firefighting. "You don't quit," he says. "You just overcome." Click for more from the interview, in which McDonough recounts a sound he heard in the fire truck that still haunts him: "Whoever didn't bring their phone, I could hear phones ringing, knowing that it was their wives, their family."

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Showing 3 of 6 comments
Who_Cares
Aug 7, 2013 4:04 PM CDT
I hope that "Donut" will move on. He sounds like a great guy. It's a different story when you there and see it with your own eyes, it would be like in the war. Your whole platoon got busted and you are the only one alive. The only answer to how he really feels, has the "donut". Hopefully he is hard spirit, and will shake it off soon. It is unbelievable what the Prescott Town officials are doing to the families of parished. The murderer in Fort Hood gets paid but there is no money for the spouses and theri kids. I don't want say anymore for the fear of being arrested.
KatyAtl90
Aug 7, 2013 12:20 PM CDT
Wow. He has PTSD written all over his face in that picture. I can't even imagine living with that.
justreading1
Aug 7, 2013 11:40 AM CDT
I cannot imagine what this man is feeling. This whole matter is so sad. My best to him and may he continue of for those that were lost.