SAN ANTONIO – With flashing lights and a huge flag dangling from a ladder truck, San Antonio firefighters and police officers escorted the body of fallen firefighter Greg Garza to a downtown funeral home Wednesday morning.
The procession arrived around 10 a.m. at the Porter Loring funeral home on McCullough Street.
Firefighters then stood silently forming a ring around an ambulance as a flag-draped gurney was lowered to the ground, then wheeled inside the building.
Garza died Tuesday morning in what may be described as an unconceivable accident.
According to Chief Charles Hood, who broke the news of his death, Garza stumbled while climbing out of his fire truck and was hit by a passing van.
Garza was part of a crew that had responded to a report of smoke inside a motel at the corner of Live Oak and Dawson streets, just east of downtown.
The driver of the van remained at the scene and was questioned by police.
"That's very sad that he was just going to go do his job and a vehicle comes by and hits him," said Jesus Ayala, who happened to be walking by Wednesday morning as the procession passed by him.
Ayala said the news of the 49-year-old firefighter's death is sad and disturbing.
As the fire engines drove by him on the way to the funeral home, he grabbed his cell phone and recorded it.
"All I wanted to do was pay my respects to the firefighter," he said. "I feel that it's right that I pay my respects for what he does for us and for everybody here in San Antonio."
Many people who didn't know Garza personally also shared similar sentiments on social media.
For his fellow firefighters, his death is devastating.
During a news conference Tuesday, Hood described Garza as someone who was well-liked and always had a smile on his face.
Garza, a 17-year veteran with SAFD, was also a husband.
As of Wednesday morning, no information had been released yet regarding services for Garza.