Families Share Memories of Their Heroes in West

People were urged to hug their loved ones a little tighter.


Editor's Note: Firehouse Associate Editor Susan Nicol was sent to Texas following the tragic blast on Wednesday night. Stay with Firehouse.com for exclusive stories and more. Find full coverage of theWest, Texas, Tragedy here.

WEST, TEXAS -- When you saw Robert Snokhous around these parts, chances are his brother Doug was with him.

They weren't just brothers, they were best friends. Since they were always together, family members said it comforts them that they were together in the end.

The Snokhous brothers were among five West firefighters killed Wednesday when the local fertilizer plant exploded. 

Other West firefighters killed were Morris Bridges, Cody Dragoo, Joseph Pustejousky. Other responders killed were Kenny Harris, Dallas Fire-Rescue; Cyrus Reed and Jerry Chapman, Abbott FD and West EMS; Perry Calvin, Merknel FD and Kevin Sanders, Bruceville Eddy FD/West EMS.

Some families shared memories of their loved ones on Sunday outside city hall. The stories were read by their firefighter liaison.

The Snokhous families spoke of the brothers' closeness as well as their passion for serving their community as firefighters. They asked for prayers for responders who "charge into danger."

They also encouraged people to hold their love ones tight.

Jerry Chapman left his EMT class at West EMS to help at the fire. "Other firemen and women survived because of the actions he took," his family wrote. "Jerry found his passion in life and followed his desire to live on the edge to find that passion..."

"...Jerry's heart was to love, protect and serve others, something he did daily. Jerry died a hero and protector because of his higher calling."