Abbott Fire Dept. Remembers Firefighters Killed In West Blast

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ABBOTT, Texas- The debris from the site where the West fertilizer plant once stood has all been removed.

All that remains is dirt that now fills the crater created by the explosion that rocked West and killed 15 people, most of them first responders.

Just 6 miles north of West, the Abbott Volunteer Fire Department is remembering two of its firefighters killed in the blast.

Laughter and barbeque aren't things you would normally equate with remembering two firefighters killed fighting the West fire a year ago, but the Abbott Volunteer Fire Department calls this a celebration of life.

Still, the memories of what happened to Jerry Chapman and Cyrus Reed still haunt the department.

Volunteer firefighter Doreen Strickland says, "They always stay surfaced. You wake up with 'em, you get to bed with 'em. They will always be there every time you walk in this station or you answer a call, they're with you."

A wreath outside this small fire station and the names on the side of a fire truck pay tribute to true heroes.

Lucy Reed remembers first hearing that her son, Cyrus, was among those missing, and the excruciating wait.

"Came to Marable, which was all blocked off. Then we told 'em who we were and the doors opened and that point we kind of knew, but we hoped that they were hiding. We hoped they'd be OK."

Cyrus Reed worked in an explosives factory near Hillsboro, when he wasn't volunteering to put out fires.

He had told his parents that when it was his time to go, he wanted his ashes shot out of a cannon

Wednesday night in West, he got his wish. At a private memorial fireworks display for those who lost their lives, Cyrus' ashes were lifted into the nightime sky by a single rocket cannon.

His father, Mark Reed, explained the significance of the display.
"We were trying to celebrate the lives....thank God for the time we had with him, get the message out it's time to move on. Move on and do your best."

And just as a splintered tree at the explosion site shows new spring life, there is new life at the Abbott Volunteer Fire Station, that maybe, just maybe Cyrus knows about.

His sister, Sara, holds Cyrus' 3 and half month old niece, Grace. And in just one small way, the circle of life continues.