East Texas firefighters raise money for West community - KYTX CBS 19 Tyler Longview News Weather Sports

East Texas firefighters raise money for West community

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SMITH COUNTY (KYTX) - The community of West is picking up the pieces after a fertilizer plant explosion kills 14 people, and destroys much of the town.

Saturday, firefighters across the East Texas region spent their Saturday collecting money for the West victims and their families.

Noonday firefighter Alisha Garrett remembers the first time she saw the video of the West fertilizer plant explosion.

"It brought tears to my eyes. It really for me hit home because I knew a lot of them," she said.

Garrett grew up in a town right next to West and still has family in the area.

"My mom and dad were actually at home about 35 miles from there and they said it shook their house."

She says her family was unharmed, but a Abbott firefighter who she knew personally, Cyrus Reed, didn't make it.

"We went through EMT class together," she said.

She says Reed and other first responders died keeping their community safe.

"If you look in the lower right hand corner [of the explosion video] you can see emergency vehicles on scene and as soon as the explosion goes off they disappear," Garret said.

She says losing fellow firefighters is like losing family.

Noonday Fire Department also has a very special connection to West. One of their main trucks, was made in West. They say it means the world to them to have a piece of the town that is suffering so much in the wake of this tragedy.

In honor of those West area firefighters and the community they fought to keep safe, Garrett and firefighters from departments all over East Texas spent their Saturday collecting donations in their helmets.

"Sitting and happening what happened in West, was very crushing to us to see our fellow brothers lose their lives to serve their city and the best thing we could come up with to do is to raise money for them and their families," said Flint-Gresham firefighter Travis Allred.

He says the support from the East Texas community is overwhelming.

"We've had an unbelievable outpouring of support from the community. 5's, 10's, 20's, everyone's been stopping by!" Allred said.

Firefighters and community members across East Texas, showing love and support for the heroes who gave the ultimate sacrifice.

Whitehouse Fire Department will be at the area Brookshire's until 6 p.m. and Noonday firefighters will be at their station for the night, helping collect monetary donations.

If you didn't get a chance to donate Saturday, you can bring money or a check by Noonday Fire Department at any time.

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