Friends mourn missing firefighter

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by Jeffery McShan / KHOU 11 News

khou.com

Posted on April 18, 2013 at 10:10 PM

Updated Thursday, Apr 18 at 10:20 PM

WEST, Texas -- Countless numbers of families in West, Texas are mourning after the deadly blast Wednesday night at the West Fertilizer Co.

While law enforcement officials have not confirmed the number of deaths, we learned that Dallas Fire Department Captain Kenny Harrisfor, who lived in West, died in the explosion. The mayor of Dallas said Harrisfor ran to help when the flames broke out.

Friends of another firefighter fear the worst.

Fifteen miles from the mangled cars and burning debris, the Black Eyed Pea restaurant in Hillsboro is open for business; but, Thursday night, the staff was working with heavy hearts.

Their coworker and volunteer firefighter, Jimmy Chapman, is missing

Restaurant manager Sharon Mathews stayed up all night looking for him.

“As soon as I heard the blast I didn’t hear nothing from him all night and we were scared something happened to him,” said Mathews. “And we found out this morning that he didn’t make it.”

Mathews said that’s when Chapman’s father called the restaurant to let them know.

Jimmy Chapman was at the restaurant on Wednesday.

“He was in for lunch,” said server Mary Chapman, “just letting us know he was on his way to class.”

Jimmy Chapman was taking an EMT firefighter class. Many of those who went to help when the fire started were in that class in West.

“It’s hard. It’s really hard,” said Mary Chapman. “I mean he was an awesome guy.”

11 News went by Jimmy Chapman’s house. His family was too distraught to talk. A family friend said that the official word on his death has yet to come, but the family knows after other firefighters told them.

“He died doing what he wanted to do,” said Mathews. “He was excited going there. He loved his EMT class and was fixing to graduate. April 24th was his last day. He was so happy,”

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