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 the West, Texas, Tragedy here.
WEST, TEXAS – When Syed Ahmed Mustafa learned about the tragedy here last week, he said there was no other place he wanted to be.
Although he had just returned from Europe hours earlier, Mustafa was drawn to Texas. It was his turn to offer comfort and support to fellow firefighters.
On Christmas Eve, he was the one on the receiving end after two of his friends were gunned down while responding to a house fire in West Webster, N.Y.
Firefighters who are staffing the West station said they were amazed when Mustafa walked in wearing his Class A uniform. He was immediately welcomed, and offered to do whatever they needed.
“I learned quickly about the fellowship and camaraderie,” the firefighter/paramedic said. “The outpouring of support after our guys were killed was just tremendous…”
Mustafa, who responded to the fire on Christmas Eve in his personal vehicle, said he assisted with EMS command as the first medic there. He then was reassigned to the hospital to watch over his wounded brothers, and help the families.
“There were thousands who offered support. It was really tough it being Christmas Eve.”
In addition to helping with station duties, Mustafa has been assisting with casket watch and honor guard duties.
“This is a brotherhood. I need to be here…”