Thousands honor the life of Dallas Fire-Rescue captain in West

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by TODD UNGER

Bio | Email | Follow: @toddWFAA8

WFAA

Posted on April 24, 2013 at 5:50 PM

Updated Thursday, Apr 25 at 12:06 AM

WEST, Texas -- As far as goodbyes go, it would be tough to beat what Capt. Kenny Harris got Wednesday afternoon in West.

Thousands of residents and firefighters from across the state lined the streets and filled the pews at St. Mary's Church.

"Some people will forget, but not us, not us," said former Dallas Fire-Rescue Chaplain Denny Burris.

It’s now been a full week since the West Fertilizer Co. plant exploded, killing 15 and injuring more than 200. Twelve of those deaths were first responders. A flag is draped over the city’s Main Street, hung between two ladder trucks that are draped in solemn purple

And like the other 11 fallen responders eventually will, Harris exited under that flag with honor. His body was carried in a truck that was draped in black. After he passed under the flag, a seemingly endless number of trucks from cities across the state streamed below it for more than a half hour.

Harris was remembered as a family man who lived life to the fullest. But perhaps what became most evident during the hour-long service was a dedication to others, whether it was his fellow firefighters, or West, where he lived for years.

It was one of the reasons those closest to him think he jumped into action last Wednesday, when he noticed the town's fertilizer chemical storage facility on fire.

Harris was one of the responders lost when the plant's explosion occurred, only minutes after the fire erupted.

"Every single time the call for service went out, he was right there, giving maximum effort," said Dallas Fire Chief Louie Bright III.

Harris leaves behind three boys, a wife, and countless family and friends. He was 52.

E-mail tunger@wfaa.com

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