Charleston, SC (WVLT) - In Charleston, South Carolina it has been a day of mourning.
Hundreds of fellow firefighters turned out to pay tribute to nine fallen firefighters and their families, a solemn procession of grief and solidarity.
The nine men lost their lives while fighting a fire that erupted at a furniture store Monday night.
Inside the North Charleston Coliseum, family members and well wishers remembered the men lost in a furniture store inferno, the deadliest firefighting tragedy since 9/11.
Some of Knoxville’s own firefighters also carried their heavy hearts to Friday's memorial services in Charleston.
Volunteer TV Reporter Mike McCarthy traveled with the eight firefighters to South Carolina. He spoke with them about how the loss of life, hundreds of miles away, has hit so close to home.
Thousands of firefighters gather outside the north Charleston Coliseum.
Among the flood of uniforms, eight bare patches from the Knoxville Fire Department
"We owe it to the fallen but more than that we owe it to the guys that survived that fire,” says Knoxville Firefighter Jeff Kindrick.
A fire that killed nine Charleston Firefighters Monday.
Friday, Knoxville Firefighters stood shoulder to shoulder to show support for those lives lost to the flames.
"People from all over the country are here and its an honor to be apart of that,” says Kindrick.
On a day when emotions overpower all else, words are hard to come by.
"It’s really something that touches you, it really does,” says Fire Captain Dennis Noe.
The firefighters touched by sadness, love, and fear, and next time it could be me.
"To say I am not scared, that would be a lie,” Capt. Noe says.
"It gives you pause, it certain makes you think about your own mortality,” says Kindrick.
But as the families of the fallen fire fighters pass by, it’s the sense of pride that's seen in ever stance.
"I'm honored to be here,” Capt. Noe says.
And to be part of the firefighter family.
"The guys aren't just people from another department who died, they are brothers,” Kindrick says.
Standing alongside thousands of who they call their brothers, Knoxville firefighters say this is exactly where they should be.
"This is where we belong today. Firefighters nationwide and the world over,” Kindrick says.
Because the strength and courage of one another will help them get back on the truck tomorrow.
None of the firefighters say the deaths have forced them to reconsider their jobs. Instead, they say it strengthens their bonds as brothers.
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