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Somber. Silent. Cold.

By the time the doors were to open at Zion Lutheran Church in Clinton for a public visitation for fallen firefighter Eric Hosette, hundreds of people lined the sidewalks outside.

Firefighters from throughout Clinton County, along with many from the Quad-Cities and other surrounding areas, stood in the quiet cold as Hosette's family gathered inside the large church on 3rd Street South, just a block from the Clinton Fire Department, where Hosette served as a lieutenant.

He packed considerable public service into his 33 years. And those who appreciated his commitment packed the church, where numbers were expected to reach the thousands during Friday's six-hour visitation.

Born in Camanche, Hosette served 10 years with the volunteer fire department there and also served on the city council.

In addition to serving full-time for 12 years at the Clinton Fire Department, Hosette was elected chief of the volunteer fire department at nearby Charlotte just two weeks before he died while responding to a call at the ADM plant in Clinton.

Fellow firefighter Adam Cain, 23, was seriously injured in the grain-silo explosion that killed Hosette on Saturday, Jan. 5. His family asked Thursday for continued prayers, saying Cain was fighting for his life.

Cain's brother, Matt, also is a Clinton firefighter, and their father, Kevin Cain, is chief at the Goose Lake volunteer department.

Fire-service families are notoriously tight-knit, but the Hosette and Cain families' commitments have been particularly vast and enduring.

"Eric (Hosette) was very civic-minded, especially for someone so young," Camanche Mayor Trevor Willis said. "That doesn't happen very often anymore."

The mayor said he was "absolutely not surprised" to see the rambling lines of mourners and well-wishers.

Shortly after 1 p.m., the hearse carrying Hosette's body was led down 3rd Avenue South by an honor guard. Following the hearse was a large contingent of his fellow firefighters in their dress uniforms. It appeared his wife, Kelly, was among them.

Shortly after 1:30 p.m., a Clinton fire truck raced past the church on the way to a call — its emergency lights reflecting off the church windows.

Behind Willis in line outside Zion Lutheran were eight members of the Bettendorf Fire Department. Just ahead of him, several members of the Davenport Fire Department waited their turn to pay their respects.

"The beautiful thing is, they've all stood up from the beginning," the mayor said. "Bettendorf is going to man our station in Camanche tomorrow during the funeral. Everybody's been exceptional."

Police and firefighters also drove to Clinton from East Moline, the Scott County Sheriff's Department and at least a dozen other emergency-services agencies.

In addition to his wife and young daughter, Addalyn, Hosette leaves behind his parents and a brother, Todd.

As a show of support, workers at the Exelon Generation Quad-City Station, where Todd Hosette works as a security officer, wore red on Friday.

And red was a dominant theme inside Zion Lutheran, where the altar was rich in funeral sprays and bouquets, punctuated with red roses and carnations.

Hosette's open casket was flanked by flags, which also lined several blocks around the church and fire department. First responders in dress uniforms also flanked the casket, as if to guard it.

Rolled-up fire houses leaned against doorways outside the church, where the head of the honor guard greeted members of MedForce who also traveled to pay their respects. It was MedForce rescuers who airlifted Cain to University Hospitals in Iowa City, where he remains.

"Thanks for coming," the honor guard member said, hugging MedForce members. "We love you guys. We thank you."

Community funeral services are Saturday with a private family burial service following. Hosette's fire department brothers from Clinton will serve as pallbearers with firefighters from Charlotte serving as honorary pallbearers.

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