The Bexar County volunteer fire fighting community was in a state of shock Wednesday after losing one of their own fire fighters Tuesday.
Captain David Crowley of the South Bexar Volunteer Fire Department said 18-year-old Alex White died after suffering a severe asthma attack at a relative's home in South Bexar county Tuesday evening.
It was a sudden end to a young man's life who had devoted himself to helping others.
You could say White was born to be fireman.
"He was almost born in Ata-Bexar's fire truck," said Jackie Prater, White's mother. "From age 2, all he wanted was fire, police, and EMS for all his birthdays. We always had a fire truck at his birthday parties."
Prater was volunteering with the Ata-Bexar VFD when she was pregnant with Alex and nearly delivered him in a fire truck on the way to a hospital.
Prater and White's fellow firefighters are now trying to come to grips with his sudden death brought on by the asthma attack.
It was just a few hours after he fought a trash fire when he asked a family member to take him to a store to get some medication.
"That's when he really got to felling bad and they turned around," said Kenneth Moore, White's step-dad. "When they pulled back up to their driveway that's when he collapsed."
Members of White's own fire department responded to the call.
"Everyone that was on scene just did a wonderful job with the resuscitation efforts and it was just his time," Crowley said.
According to Crowley, White told him about his asthma condition when he started at the department.
Earlier this year, Crowley said White got clearance from a doctor to fight fires. Crowley believed the asthma was under control because White had shown no signs of trouble after fighting larger fires this summer.
The department is stunned by the loss.
"If we had 10 more guys like Alex we would be probably the best staffed department in the county," Crowley said.
The young man who often came to the station with his bible in hand started going on calls at age 16. He got his start at another volunteer department in the Canyon Lake area when he was just 12.
Prater said her son did more for his community in a few short years than most will do in a life time.
"He's done more, touched more people than most people ever would," Prater said. "He's a great humanitarian. I wasn't worthy of him but God gave him to me. He taught me more about life than I taught him."
White was a Junior at Canyon Lake High School. His grandmother lived in the South Bexar coverage area. He was supposed to spend his holiday break working at the department.
The State Fire Marshall's office will investigate White's death to determine if it can be classified as a "line of duty death." If it can be classified as such White's family will be eligible to receive State benefits which they may need to help pay for his funeral.
Services are still pending.