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“Grieving is a long process, and we are still grieving a year later;” a trip to the Clinton Fire Department one year after fatal explosion

“It’s a long process. Grieving is a long process, and we are still grieving a year later.”

CLINTON, Iowa-- It's been one year since an explosion in Clinton badly hurt a firefighter and killed another.

You may remember on January 5, 2019, a fire in a grain silo at the ADM plant fueled an explosion that killed 33-year-old Eric Hosette and injured 23-year-old Adam Cain when they were fighting the blaze.

A lot has happened since that morning, but the wounds of losing a brother are still raw at the Clinton Fire Department. And things have changed since last year.

In Clinton the fire house is a home for a family of 45 firefighters. Now it's about protecting that family a year after losing their brother Lieutenant Eric Hosette.

"We've already started implementing change. We started that day one," says Clinton Fire Marshal Jeff Chapman.

One of those changes is the way firefighters train for industrial incidents and who they train with.

"We've opened up training and doing that with ADM personnel. I think it's going to change the game for the way we respond and tactically address the way we address these silos," says Chapman.

The Clinton department is also working to make tools and equipment more efficient, something they say Eric would have wanted. In the past few months, they replaced an engine with a design Eric wanted, a design he's permanently part of. The engine has his name, nickname, and a painting all honoring his service.

But the most immediate change, making sure everyone is included in the healing process.

"If you look around the station, families are way more included now than they ever were," says Chapman. "Now every holiday, birthdays, we're celebrating at the station. They're bringing it here, and it's been remarkable," says Chief Joel Atkinson.

It's firefighters, their spouses and kids included, all healing together.

"It's a long process. Grieving is a long process, and we are still grieving a year later. It's a work in progress. Just looking out for each other is a big key right now," says Atkinson.

And while one member of this family is missing, parts of Eric will always live here.

"You think about him everyday," says Atkinson.

"His memory will continue to serve for the rest of our lives in the Clinton Fire Department," says Chapman.

This family chooses to keep coming home to this fire house for him.

"That's all because of Eric, it really is."

The department has a favor to ask the Clinton community: they want people to change an outside light at their house to a red bulb as a way to honor Lieutenant Eric Hosette for the entire month of January.