Kristi Nelson, NBC 5 News
Buck Uptmor's mother says her son was killed in the West explosion as he tried to free horses from a barn.
The mother of a volunteer firefighter who was killed in Wednesday's explosion in West said her son died helping others.
Buck Uptmor was one of three firefighters killed in the blast who were identified Thursday. He was killed while trying to free horses from a nearby barn. He is survived by his wife and three children, including an 18-year-old daughter and two sons ages 12 and 10.
"I guess the good Lord wanted a good cowboy up there," Beverly Uptmor said.
He turned 45 just last week. The volunteer firefighter and his daughter were planning a surprise party for Saturday night for his wife.
"He's done more in his lifetime -- that short -- than most people ever do," his mother said. "He's always helping people, anytime anybody calls. He was right there, and that's what happened this time.
Beverly Uptmor said her son was a proud cowboy. He raised cattle, built barns and owned a construction company. He also was dedicated to his community and worked as a volunteer firefighter.
"It's not anger at anybody or at God," she said. "It's just one of those tests. I've always heard that God takes you at your very best, and I know where my son is."
Uptmor said her faith has been tested, but she's moved by the outpouring of love and support from friends, family and total strangers.
"He was my son," she said. "We were such a close family, and it's such a big hole. It's such a big hole now."