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Hotshot firefighters to be memorialized today at Arizona service

PRESCOTT VALLEY, Ariz. -- The family, friends and firefighters from throughout the country are gathering at a city arena Tuesday morning to honor the memory of 19 elite firefighters killed combating the Yarnell fire more than a week ago.

Vice President Joe Biden and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, who is also the former Arizona governor, are expected to attend.

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It is a community filled with marks of grief: Nineteen American flags are posted on street corners along with 19 white crosses shrouded in purple fabric. On Sunday thousands lined the streets for a procession of 19 hearses as the bodies arrived in Prescott, returning home.

WHO THEY WERE: Fallen Arizona firefighters

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Crowds are also expected to congregate outside Tim’s Toyota Center, the Prescott municipal multi-purpose facility, for the memorial service that will be simulcast live Tuesday morning on several websites.

Yavapai Community College is also hosting a simulcast viewing at its performing arts facility, where up to 1,100 people can attend.

The 19 firefighters were members of the Prescott, Ariz.-based Granite Mountain Hotshots crew. On June 30, they were fighting the Yarnell Hill blaze in the small Arizona town of Yarnell when they were overrun by the fast-moving fire. Authorities said that all 19 died of fire-related injuries, which included thermal burns with carbon monoxide poisoning and a lack of oxygen.

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