BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Memorial ceremonies were held Thursday morning for two heroes lost in the line of duty in Biloxi. Emotions ran high as families and friends remembered the lives lost three decades ago.
The touching ceremonies were a stirring reminder of the dangers of being a first responder. Kurt Jacquet, Sr. and Carl Ohr both died fighting a structure fire on Oct. 20, 1986. Each man left behind loving families and friends.
"He loved the water, he loved being a fireman, and he loved people. He loved his church and his family," said Jacquet's widow, Beatrice.
She remembers their 16 years of marriage fondly. Beatrice and the rest of the family have remained supportive of one another over the past three decades. Jacquet's sister, Gloria Kostmayer, said the day Kurt died still feels like it was yesterday.
"I talked to him for a few minutes, and then he went into the house, and he never came out of the house," said Kostmayer.
Kostmayer and her sister clung to one another for support as they waited to hear if their brother had survived.
"She went with me to the police station where they told us that, in fact, he really had died. It's been 30 long years," said Kostmayer.
It's the support of the fire department that Kostmayer credits with helping her family get through the tragedy.
"There's never a day I can't not call [Chief Joe Boney]. He's always, every time I've ever called him, he's been there," said Kostmayer.
Ohr's family members boasted the same support for Boney and the rest of the fire department.
"That's comforting, and it makes us feel like we're not alone in our sadness and in our memories of happy times with the fire department," said Sarah Ohr Murphy, Carl's younger sister.
Murphy said she, her sister-in-law, and the rest of the family relive the tragedy every year. Rosella Ohr Walker said she and Carl's 14 and a half years of marriage were filled with happiness, and that's where she focuses her memories.
"We don't dwell on what happened so much as how he was and how he lived his life," said Walker.
Boney told WLOX News Now the deaths of these two men spurred big changes in safety protocol at the department. There hasn't been another Biloxi firefighter death since in the line of duty.