BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A procession today honored Baltimore’s fallen heroes. Three firefighters left the city’s medical examiner’s office and were taken to their funeral homes.
Lt. Paul Butrim, firefighter/paramedic Kelsey Sadler, and EMT/firefighter Kenny Lacayo died after a partial collapse trapped them in a burning, vacant home in Baltimore.READ MORE: High Levels Of COVID-19 Community Transmission Detected In Baltimore Area
The journey was one that was met by hundreds of firefighters and citizens waiting for the procession to pass by so they could pay their respects.
Among the crowds were family and friends of those firefighters.
Jose Antonio Lacayo, father of Kenny Lacayo, was in the procession following his son’s body. He said during the procession he could feel Baltimore’s pride for his son, their gratitude for his son’s service to this city, and the city’s love for their family.
“There were firemen, firefighters along the way to show their respect but in addition to that the civilians showed great respect they pulled their cars over stopped many of them saluted as we came by,” said Chief Mark Dempsey of the Wheaton Volunteer Rescue Squad, where Lacayo got his start and spent 11 years volunteering.
Hundreds saluted the fallen firefighters on their way to funeral homes in Harford and Baltimore counties
In that long line of cars, behind Kenny Lacayo, was the Wheaton Volunteer Rescue Squad. Kenny Lacayo worked beside his best friend Julio Deras there.
“Kenny and I went to middle school together went to high school together,” Deras said. “We practically have known each other I think our whole lives.”
Kenny was Deras’ best man at his wedding.
“A huge part of my life has been taken,” he said. “It’s hard.”READ MORE: President Biden Tells Naval Academy Grads Putin 'NATO-ized Europe'
Battalion Chief Chris Hutson three
“I talked to somebody who was right back there with Kenny and he was buried pretty bad from the waist down and he was talking but they just couldn’t get him out they just couldn’t get him out.”
Battalion Chief Chris Hutson has been grappling with the fact that three of his firefighters died in a single house fire.
“It’s just three terrific people, not only firefighters, just good people,” Hutson said.
In an interview with WTOP’s Megan Cloherty, Hutson shared vivid details of the conditions that Butrim, Sadler, and Lacayo fought through to the very end.
“I talked to somebody who was right back there with Kenny and he was pretty bad from the waist down and he was talking, but they just couldn’t get him out—just couldn’t get him out,” Hutson said. “It took an hour plus to get him and Kelsey out and it took 10 hours to get Paul Butrim out.”
On Wednesday, investigators with Baltimore fire and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives were back at the scene with an evidence bag and they were focusing on an area several houses down from where the fire started.
For Deras, suffering the loss of a best friend, one fact brings him peace.
“This is what he wanted to do, this is where he wanted to be,” he said. “He died doing what he wanted and he loved, he loved this job.”MORE NEWS: Fourth Of July Fireworks, Celebrations Return To The Inner Harbor This Year
John McMaster, a fourth firefighter who was hospitalized in critical condition and put on life support after the collapse, got out of his bed Wednesday and walked to a chair, his sister told WJZ.