SAN ANTONIO - Hundreds of family members, friends, election officials and firefighters crowded into Community Bible Church on Friday to memorialize the life of San Antonio firefighter Scott Deem.
Deem was remembered as a man who loved his family, being a firefighter and the Dallas Cowboys.
"Scott loved being a firefighter," San Antonio Fire Chief Charles Hood said during an emotional address. "(He was) dedicated to this department and the citizens he protected."
He said that Deem leaves behind a legacy of "commitment, heroism and service."
Hood said the fire May 18 at a strip mall on Ingram Road that claimed the life of Deem and injured firefighters Brad Phipps and Robert Vasquez was "one of the worst fires in the history of the Alamo City."
"(It was) probably the most challenging fire in our generation (a fire that) "defined and created a new normal" and "changed our department permanently," Hood said.
Firefighter Robert Arenaga, who spent six years in the Fire Department with Deem, spoke on behalf of the fallen firefighter's family.
"No one would have asked for a better family member. He will always be our hero," Arenaga said.
He remembered Deem as a rookie who was "ready to learn and work" and six years later as someone who "was still our hardest worker."
"(He) exemplified character, courage and everything the department stood for," Arenaga said.
He also recalled the love Deem had for his wife and two children.
"He was a great family man, first and foremost," Arenaga said.
Chris Steele, president of the San Antonio Professional Firefighters Association, said Deem's death affected residents across the city.
"There's not a dry eye in San Antonio today," he said. "(The) sorrow and anger are more than we can bear."
Steele remembered Deem as someone who had a great knowledge about insurance and called on him for assistance about it.
He said that the union will be there for Deem's family and they will never be forgotten.
Steele also wants an investigation into the fatal fire to "uncover the truth into what happened (and) to make sure it doesn't happen again."
Mayor Ivy Taylor told mourners that our "hearts of course are broken and the entire community weeps."
She also said that Deem "truly embraced this notable calling" and "I hope that you are proud of the legacy of Scott Deem."
State Sen. Donna Campbell delivered remarks in place of Gov. Greg Abbott, who was unable to attend the funeral.
"Scott will always be remembered for his courage."
Following the remarks, Hood led a team of firefighters to ring the final alarm for Deem.
"This is the final alarm for firefighter Scott Patrick Deem," Hood said. "(Tone) it is with great sadness that the San Antonio Fire Department marks the passing for active duty firefighter Scott Patrick Deem. Badge Number 3239. Scott was assigned to Ladder 35 on the A Shift and faithfully served the city of San Antonio for six years. Scott died heroically on May 18, 2017. Although he is gone, he will never be forgotten. Rest in power, Brother Scott"
Deem was laid to rest during a private burial service.
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