Disaster Recovery Teams Deployed to Arizona Community Still Grieving the Loss of 19 Firefighters

Samaritan's Purse Staff and Volunteers to Help Homeowners Clean Up and Search for Sentimental Belongings

The community of Yarnell, Arizona, is reeling from the destruction caused by a recent wildfire that claimed the lives of 19 area firefighters and destroyed more than 100 houses. As homeowners begin the hard work of cleaning up and searching for treasured family items, North Carolina-based Christian relief organization Samaritan's Purse has arrived with teams of volunteers to help.

Shortly after the U.S. Forest Service reported the fire was 100 percent contained last week, Samaritan's Purse deployed a disaster relief unit—a tractor-trailer stocked with tools and supplies that serves as a command center—to the area. The organization's disaster relief experts were already on the ground assessing the situation, walking the burn area and meeting with emergency management officials. On Monday, volunteer teams began work, sifting through the ashes and debris to recover sentimental items belonging to the fire victims.

"It means so much to a grieving family when our teams are able to recover precious family photos and other small, cherished items that can never be replaced," said Samaritan's Purse President Franklin Graham."We search through the ashes alongside them and treat their belongings with great care. This is a tangible way that we are able to share the love of God with them."

The Samaritan's Purse disaster relief teams are working alongside crisis-trained chaplains from the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association Rapid Response Team, which has been ministering to fire victims.

The Samaritan's Purse disaster relief unit is based at Heights Church (2121 Larry Caldwell Dr., Prescott, AZ 86301).

Homeowners who need assistance can visit the disaster relief unit or call 928.445.1421. The organization is also still looking for volunteers to help with the effort. To volunteer with Samaritan's Purse, go to spvolunteernetwork.org. Donations to help disaster victims can be made at samaritanspurse.org.

Samaritan's Purse is an international Christian relief and evangelism organization that has helped more than 27,000 families in 31 U.S. states following fires, hurricanes, tornadoes, floods and ice storms, including the recent wildfire near Colorado Springs, Colorado, which destroyed nearly 500 homes.