SAN ANTONIO - Friends and family of fallen firefighter Scott Deem gathered for a candlelight vigil Sunday evening. They held the ceremony at the same West Side shopping center that caught fire late last week, where they exchanged stories and memories of the local hero.
Sharing tears and exchanging hugs, trying to support one another during such a difficult time.
"Scott was just a great guy. What can I say- he always did the right thing, was always there to help somebody, was always the nicest, sweetest freaking guy," said Deem’s cousin, Jonathan Cerda, fighting back the tears.
Friends and family held the candlelight ceremony for Deem, 31, at the scene of the fire, which is still taped off as investigators still work to determine the cause.
"Basically getting some type of closure for all of us -- for his mom, his dad. Just trying to remember the last time we saw him because obviously we can’t see him no more," said Cerda.
Deem, a six-year veteran with the department, responded to a four-alarm fire at the Ingram Square shopping center Thursday evening in the 6700 block of Ingram Road. A mayday was called and the Rapid Intervention Team shifted their focus to locate a two missing firefighters.
They pulled out two firemen from the blaze -- Brad Phipps, who is still in the hospital and Robert Vasquez, who is now recovering at home.
"The city, they lost one of their own. Twenty years no one has passed away in the San Antonio Fire Department,” Cerda said, “Twenty years is a long time especially in that line of duty. I respect not only my cousins, but any of the firefighters that do that."
Seeing all the flowers and gifts that people have dropped off at the memorials around the Alamo city, Cerda said the family is grateful for the outpouring of support. He asks the community keep the local hero's legacy alive.
"Anybody that’s ever come in contact with him, talked to him, went to high school with him -- keep those memories alive. It’s those kids that are going to need those memories,” said Cerda.
Deem is survived by his pregnant wife, Jennifer, and their two children.
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