Local residents have been pausing to remember the sacrifices made by firefighters last night. Many are shocked at how things took such a horrible turn.
Emergency responders formed a procession down Highway 21 to honor a fallen brother, Lt. Eric Wallace. Colleagues saluted, showing respect and honor.
Then, 54-year-old Lt. Greg Pickard died Saturday afternoon from his injuries.
Judy Cantu actually saw the fire at the Knights of Columbus Hall and brought flowers to the scene.
"He had a family I think and it's kind of sad to lose a person while they're doing their job," said Cantu about Wallace, before news came out of Pickard's death.
Judy, like so many, is surprised by what happened last night.
"I heard the firefighters and as soon as I was getting closer home, I started seeing the smoke. And as I drove up, I saw this," said Cantu.
Jose Venegas and his family also made a stop Saturday morning to see the damage.
"It's wild. It's different because you know I ain't never seen anything like that. Nothing happened like that; a real building burned down like that," said Venegas.
Residents are sad to see the landmark go, one that was set to host an event Saturday evening.
"My cousin had her quinceanera in September there. And her friend was having it tonight, so it's kind of sad it's gone now," said Judy Cantu.
As for the firefighters, the community feels grateful.
"They put their life at risk every day if something happens and they got the big risk of dying," said Jose Venegas.
Many are mourning for the loss of local heroes, but applaud the commitment that firefighters make for their safety everyday.
"Thank you for doing your job. I know with fire it's difficult. You never know if it's going to turn out good or bad," said Cantu.
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