Pampa native among the fallen firefighters in West - KSWO, Lawton, OK- Wichita Falls, TX: News, Weather, Sports. ABC, 24/7, Telemundo -

Pampa native among the fallen firefighters in West

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PAMPA - Central Texas is starting to bury those who lost their lives last Wednesday in the West fertilizer plant explosion, and some panhandle mourners will head that way Wednesday.

Of the fifteen who lost their lives in the blast, at least ten were first responders. Among them was 26-year-old Pampa native, Jerry Chapman.

"He died a hero. He always wanted to help people. He always wanted to make sure that everyone was okay before he was," Chapman's childhood friend and classmate Cassandra Denton said.

Chapman was a volunteer fire fighter in Abbott, a tiny community neighboring West.

Tuesday on West Street in Pampa, Denton told NewsChannel 10 she can't believe he's gone.

"He actually took me on my first car date," Denton said. "He just wanted to show me what a real guy is supposed to treat a girl like."

Chapman was born in Pampa and went to school at the former Pampa Academy of Christian Education, a private school once held in Highland Christian Church.

He was active in bible study, a honor roll student, a basketball player for a private school league, a saxophone player and always a prankster.

"He loved to make people laugh. I think it would upset him knowing that everyone was crying," Denton said.

Chapman's family moved to Hillsboro when he was a senior in high school where he soon started volunteering for the Abbott Fire Department.

Chapman died last Wednesday helping people, something his panhandle friends say he loved to do.

"I know he's in heaven now. He was a good Christian man," Denton said.

There will be a visitation service for Chapman from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at Marshall & Marshall Funeral Directors in Hillsboro.

President Obama will speak at a memorial service for all the West explosion victims Thursday at the Ferrell Center in Waco.

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