Posted at: 04/25/2013 4:28 PM
Updated at: 04/25/2013 5:57 PM
By: Joangel Concepcion
We all witnessed the amount of support that came in from everyone after the Christmas Eve tragedy in Webster. So when news that an explosion killed 15 people and injured 200 others and that most of those killed were first responders, a West Webster firefighter dropped everything for a chance to pay it forward.
Lt. Syedahmed Mustafa is not only a firefighter. He is also a paramedic. He was in Paris when he heard about the tragedy and when he returned to the United States, he immediately made his way down to the disaster area. He was there for a little more than 30 hours, proving that some of the toughest guys have the biggest hearts.
Like most of the world, Lt. Syedahmed Mustafa watched in horror as a small town of West, Texas went up in flames. Citizens and first responders died that day. And if anyone knows how difficult it is to lose fellow first responders, it's the men and women of the West Webster Fire Department.
Lt. Syedahmed Mustafa, West Webster Fire Department, said, “Once I realized the magnitude and the loss of first responders' lives, you know, my heart went out knowing what we experienced here and how much that hurt.”
Lt. Mustafa says he didn't think twice about heading to Texas, but he was not prepared for what he would see up close.
Lt. Mustafa said, “The devastation was even hard to comprehend. It looked like a bomb went off which I guess in practicality it had. There is an apartment building across the railroad tracks, the front and backs were blown out. Cars were crushed like soda cans. Think of the force. In some yards, it looked like it rained metal.”
Along with other first responders, Lt. Mustafa worked up to 30 hours straight. He helped get medicine, secure homes and treat the wounded. And he helped his first responder brothers and sisters cope with their loss.
Lt. Mustafa said, “These guys have lost 14 people. It's not a fire department of 100 people, Abbott has 18, they lost four. West has 30, they lost 5. I mean in some cases, two brothers.”
The images show a small town that has big challenges ahead. Lt. Mustafa hopes his selflessness and his actions can carry a message.
Lt. Mustafa said, “This is our way of paying it forward. Our fire chief calls us the new today. Things will never be the same, we'll never go back to the way things were. We are all there for them. We feel their pain and we're going to help them through it.”
The West Webster Fire Chief calls Lt. Mustafa “selfless” and a perfect example of paying it forward. He released a statement about the tragedy.
"The men and women of the West Webster Fire District were deeply saddened to learn of the explosion in West, TX that claimed the lives of brother and sister first responders and citizens. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the members of the West, Navarro Mills and Abbott Volunteer Fire Departments along with the entire community for enduring such tragic losses. We also will keep the families, all other emergency responders, and the entire community that have been affected by this tragic event in our thoughts and prayers as they move forward to recover. We commend all of the mutual aid companies that responded to this incident to assist for having the courage to continue to head into danger to protect and save the lives of others. No words will ever be able to describe the heroics that the men and women involved in this displayed without concern for their own well-being to bring a rapid conclusion to an already tragic event.
Lt. Mustafa having the willingness to change around his personal and business schedules to respond and represent the West Webster Fire Department and the entire Webster community in a time of need is a truly selfless act and perfect example of paying it forward. I could not be prouder of his actions and willingness to demonstrate the meaning of Brotherhood/Sisterhood while in West, TX. There are no words that can ever ease the pain that the entire community must be feeling in West, TX and it's surrounding communities but West Webster is committed to assist with any support we possibly can. We ask that our community and communities around the country take time today to show support for a community in need similar to the support that we received following our tragedy."
If you like to help the people affected by this tragedy, you can donate to the American Red Cross in Texas, by clicking here.