Brendan McDonough, Lone Hotshot Survivor: It "Wasn't a Bad Decision" by Crew

The "deployment site," where the 19 firefighters died, is just beyond where the yellow line ends.
The "deployment site," where the 19 firefighters died, is just beyond where the yellow line ends.
Granite Mountain Hotshots Memorial via Facebook

Brendan McDonough, the lone survivor of the Granite Mountain Hotshot crew, said it "wasn't a bad decision" his colleagues made before they died in the Yarnell Hill Fire.

That comment came from ABC News' exclusive interview with McDonough, which aired in part this morning on Good Morning America.

See also:
-Forestry Division Now Going Both Ways on Claim of Hotshot Violating Safety Protocols
-McDonough Was "Remorseful" After 2010 Conviction

It's not surprising, but much of the interview dealt with McDonough's apparent feeling of guilt as a survivor, and the incredible emotional distress caused by the whole situation.

The most chilling part of the whole thing was McDonough recounting how his deceased colleagues' cellphones kept ringing in the hours after their deaths.

But McDonough also offered a few details on the day of the fire. (ABC apparently cut up the interview to air over a few shows; only one part has been aired.)

McDonough, serving as a lookout that day, said he was in radio contact with his captain, Jesse Steed.

"From where they were, they could see it picking up. So they kind of relayed to me, 'Hey, Donut, we got eyes on it,'" McDonough told ABC News ("Donut" is his nickname). "They said, 'If you need to get out of there, go ahead and get out of there -- we want you to be safe, too,' you know?"

Despite former New Times reporter John Dougherty's report citing a state forestry official who said the Hotshots didn't adhere strictly to safety protocols, McDonough told the network that he "never question[s] the decisions they've made."

"I never questioned them before, why should I question them now?" McDonough said. "It's not their fault. Wasn't a bad decision."

Check out the whole segment below:

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Follow Matthew Hendley on Twitter at @MatthewHendley.

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