SAN ANTONIO — On this date three years ago, the first alarm of many sounded around nine o'clock, for what turned out to be a loss many will never forget.
As the Ingram Square Shopping Center in north west San Antonio was consumed by an arson fire, San Antonio Firefighter Scott Deem was lost when he could not escape from the burning building.
Emond Johnson is charged with murder, accused of setting the fire to escape debt.
More than one-thousand days later, Johnson is still sitting in the Bexar County jail awaiting trial.
The wait for justice remains a heartache for Deem's family.
Monday afternoon, several family members made their annual visit to San Fernando Cemetery on the anniversary of his death.
Writing messages to heaven, the family quietly capped off a tradition, bringing balloons with messages they hope will reach him.
“We love you. You will never be forgotten.”
Susan, Roy, Nichole and Bobby all came to honor their Scotty, their hero, an awesome soul they said, lost in service, too soon, at age 31.
Still too tender to talk and do an interview for television, they all agreed that it has been painful to see the trial pushed back over and over.
They said they lift each other up on behalf of Dakota, Tyler and Aubrey, Scott's kids, growing up without their dad.
Deem’s mother Susan said she is proud of the way the community has continued to rally around the children.
Aubrey, who was born after her dad died, is a carbon copy of her father, her grandmother brags.
Susan says grandson Tyler wants to be a firefighter like his dad, and he even has a special uniform to look the part.
Oldest daughter Dakota is growing into a young lady who would make her dad proud, Susan said.
They said the trial, delayed by a change in the District Attorney’s office and then again by coronavirus complications, may finally get underway this summer.
While they wait, they said they remain grateful for the friends and strangers alike who continue to offer comfort, united with them in grief.