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Suit in deaths of 19 firefighters ends in little cash

By BOB CHRISTIE
Associated Press

PHOENIX (AP) - A dozen families who lost members when 19 members of a Hotshot firefighting crew was overcome by the 2013 Yarnell Hill wildfire originally wanted $220 million from the state.

They also wanted changes to how the Arizona responds to fires and trains its crews.

They got plenty of changes but very little money.

A settlement this week gives the 12 families who sued less than 1 percent of what they initially sought. The attorney representing the families says it shows they weren't after money.

But legal experts say winning the lawsuit was an iffy proposition and the small settlement reflects that.

Phoenix trial attorney Dwane Cates says both sides essentially have a win. The state avoided a public relations disaster and the families got a state promise of safety changes.

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