Fallen Charleston Firefighter Buried in Indiana

Hundreds packed a high school gym for Firefighter Mark Kelsey's service.

WASHINGTON, Ind. --

Mark Kelsey, 40, one of nine firefighters killed while battling a blaze in Charleston, SC, was laid to rest in southwestern Indiana on Tuesday.

Kelsey grew up in Washington and joined the military before going to South Carolina to become a firefighter, 6News' Ben Morriston reported.

Hundreds packed the high school gym for Kelsey's service. Charleston Fire Chief Rusty Thomas sang Kelsey's praises at the funeral.

"Mark Kelsey was almost too good of a fireman to be in our fire department," Thomas said. "Mark Kelsey was a great guy in our department."

A large contingent from South Carolina said goodbye to Kelsey in his hometown.

"Mark Kelsey is a hero and will always be," said Charleston Mayor Joe Riley. "We in Charleston will never forget Mark and his eight fellow brave, courageous firefighters. I mean, never. We will create memorials."

Kelsey's friends remembered him as outgoing and helpful.

"He was colorful in his language. He was creative in his choice of words," said Jeff Unger. "That's when I realized that God broke the mold with Mark Kelsey."

The service reminded firefighters of their tightly-knit brotherhood.

"Look at the people that have come from so far away," said Bobby North. "Washington people, look at this. This is brotherhood."

A motorcade led Kelsey's body to a cemetery north of Washington. Members of the Charleston Fire Department honor guard carried Kelsey to his final rest.

Kelsey was also awarded the Indiana Medal of Valor. His family accepted the reward on his behalf.

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