Firefighters from numerous departments responded to the West Fertilizer plant fire and explosion Wednesday night, not knowing what was about to happen next.
A day later the calm in the nearby town of Abbott belies the sorrow being felt here.
"And I'm sure they did their best. I knew a bunch of the guys that were here. They would't take risks."
Volunteer firefighter Justin Schulz is talking about the 3 Abbott firefighters missing.
Firefighters from the small Abbott Volunteer Fire Department were some of the first responders.
Schulz says, "We're still pretty deep in shock. There's people coming to speak with us, We'll be trying to work through it. At the best case, we've seen something horrible. At the worse case we've lost brothers."
They say the risk goes with the territory, But Doreen Strickland, the president of the Abbott Volunteer Fire Department, never expected to be grieving on this day.
"Fire department is made up of 80% dedicated volunteers, with families, kids, you know, mothers and dads, losing their kids."
Abbott is a small town where God plays a big part in everyday life.
The flag at the fire station was already at half staff for the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing.
Now it will remain at that position for a tragedy much closer to home.