HOUSTON -- In front of the burned out Southwest Inn there is a somber memorial where firefighters hung four hats -- representing the four members of the Houston Fire Department who died in Friday’s five-alarm fire.
“Just one big family, one big brotherhood,” Ken Pacmon, an officer with the Houston Police Department, said referring to the bond that firefighters and police officers have.
Pacmon considers himself a part of the brotherhood as he knelt down to pray in front of the memorial in southwest Houston.
“I just wanted to take the time, to pay my respects to these guys and women (who) were brave and courageous. They paid the ultimate sacrifice doing what they do best,” Pacmon said.
And what they do best -- saving lives by risking theirs -- is tough on their families. Kim Herring, whose husband is a firefighter at Station 51, said she knew the fallen firefighters and their families.
“It's hard to believe. Everybody is sad and just...they are having a hard time accepting that this happened,” Herring said.
She said that her husband had just gotten off duty when firefighters responded to the fire, but raced to the scene to see if he could help. He has been here at the station ever since. Saturday is also their 22nd anniversary, but Herring said that celebration will wait.
Herring brought food to her husband and his fellow firefighters.
“It is very emotional. It's like a big family...we are all very close,” Herring said, doing whatever she can to support these heroes whose hearts are broken.