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Abilene firefighters attending service of fallen first-responders in West explosion

By Jenna Rogers, Reporter, jrogers@ktxs.com
Published On: Apr 25 2013 02:10:46 PM CDT
Updated On: Apr 24 2013 08:51:48 PM CDT
ABILENE, Texas -

Some of our own firefighters from Abilene are attending services for those who lost their lives in the West explosion.  A memorial service honoring the victims will be held Thursday afternoon in Waco.  The explosion has claimed the lives of fourteen people. Ten of them were first responders.

"Anytime anyone goes in and risks their lives like that- those are heroes," said Abilene Fire Department Deputy Fire Chief, Larry Bell.

He said he put himself in their shoes when he first found out about the tragedy.

"Of course we do this everyday and you think of the ‘what if’s’ and you put yourself in their spot and think what would I have done?" said Bell.

Deputy Fire Chief Weldon Wilkerson will also be attending the service.

"To be able to go and show respect for those people. It's an honor," said Wilkerson.

They say a tragedy like this brings all firefighters together.

"Firefighters are firefighters everywhere so when there is a loss especially a line of duty death it really does touch and affect all firefighters," said Bell. "You don't want anything like that to happen here but if it did you would know you have that same support."

He can't say enough good things about the men who battled that explosion and saved lives.

"Them stepping up for the good of the community that says a lot for those individuals," said Bell.

AFD Chief Ken Dozier was in West Wednesday for the funeral service of Dallas Fire Captain Ken Harris.

Chaplain Chris Hale will also be attending Thursday's memorial.

The service is Thursday in Waco at the Ferrell Center on the Baylor University Campus at 2 p.m. President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama will also be there. Thousands, including first responders from across the country, are expected to attend.