Brownwood firefighters practiced placing an empty casket onto the back of a fire truck Tuesday — a sad, solemn and tender task they’ll do for real today when they escort their fallen friend and colleague to his final resting place.
B.J. Carnes, who was killed Saturday when the plane he was piloting crashed in Coleman County, will be buried in Bangs Cemetery after his 2 p.m. funeral at Coggin Avenue Baptist Church.
Carnes’ fellow firefighters will take his body to the cemetery in a procession of fire trucks. An honor guard from San Angelo will be present, and the funeral will include bagpipes, the ringing of the ceremonial bell, last alarm and roll call.
Firefighters were preparing Tuesday to place black sashes on the front fire trucks and black out the lights on the aerial ladder truck that will carry Carnes’ on his last call. The window near the seat where Carnes rode on fire calls will also be blacked out.
Neighboring fire departments and the Texas Forest Service will send manpower and equipment to cover Brownwood so Brownwood firefighters can attend the funeral, Fire Chief Del Albright said.
“We’re hanging in there — good moments, bad moments. It’s going to be a rough week,” Albright said.
As firefighters prepared at Station 1 for Carnes’ funeral, Lt. James LeMond said something would be said as firefighters talked that would trigger memories of their times with Carnes.
That would cause “a little emotional breakdown, I guess,” LeMond said. “We have to go on, but it’s going to be different.”
LeMond said Carnes had done a lot of behind-the-scenes work at the department, including his involvement in the meet-and-confer process and serving on the board of the Firemen’s Pension Fund.
“He was something else,” LeMond said.