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Community gathers to honor victims of Conception boat fire

Posted at 11:00 PM, Sep 06, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-07 15:55:58-04

Many came together to honor the victims who lost their lives on the Conception at a vigil Friday evening in Santa Barbara.

"These 34 lights and scuba cylinders before you here represent our brother and sister divers who did not make IT home that night," said Don Barthelmess, dive instructor and Santa Barbara City College Professor Emeritus.

A sea of people - families, friends and residents - all came together Friday evening to mourn the lives lost this past Labor Day weekend.

Heather Kern is from Oxnard, California but said she frequently volunteers on Santa Cruz island.

She didn't know anyone personally on the boat but says she came to the vigil because like many members of the tight-knit community, everyone is trying to cope with the loss of so many lives.

"I think this is the best way for a really strong community to come together to handle something like this," said Kern.

Hands were full of white carnations and white roses and many embraced as they remembered their loved ones.

Santa Barbara native Truen Fitzpatrick says the harbor is a special place for her family, which is why she needed to support those families who have been directly affected.

"You know, not even knowing those families but what they are going through and all of their relatives and everything, like it's already going to make me tear up," said Fitzpatrick.

All of this comes the same day the Santa Barbara's Sheriff's Office has now been able to identify 22 of the 33 recovered victims of the Conception boat fire.