Dozens of property owners are suing the State of Arizona over the Yarnell Hill fire in 2013 that killed 19 of the Hotshot firefighters. Attorney Craig Knapp, who represents the plaintiffs, discusses the lawsuit.
“The lawsuit’s about change,” Knapp explains. The community wants the state to move quickly and competently when it receives notice that a fire has started. Knapp points out that, when the fire began, it was an extremely small fire. Members of the Yarnell fire department and others from Yarnell volunteered to put out the fire when it started, but the state told them to stand down. After that, the fire grew out of control.
The plaintiffs hope that changes will be made to make things safer for other Hotshot crews and to protect other towns from such disasters. Knapp explains that there was enough time and resources at the beginning of the disaster, but the state had no plan to deal with the fire. The Industrial Commission did an independent investigation and imposed over half a million dollars in penalties on the state.
Knapp explained that the lawsuit initially filed was only on behalf of property owners. However, his firm will shortly file three wrongful death claims, and he anticipates that other such suits will be filed. [As this is written, more lawsuits have been filed.]
Craig Knapp is a trial lawyer and a founding partner of Knapp & Roberts (Scottsdale, Arizona) where he serves as the firm's lead trial counsel. His practice is dedicated solely to representing plaintiffs in cases involving wrongful death and catastrophic personal injury. Mr. Knapp has successfully litigated many multi-million dollar cases and several high profile cases which received local and national media attention. The Legal Broadcast Network is a featured network of the Sequence Media Group.