FAIRFAX STATION, Va. (ABC7) — Fire Station 32 in Fairfax Station, Va. was filled Wednesday night for an emotional vigil of hope for a community desperate to understand what happened to firefighter Nicole Mittendorff.
"Tonight is about Nicole. Tonight is about bringing Nicole home," says Fairfax County Fire Chief Richard Bowers.
The 31-year-old firefighter, who called station 32 her work home, has been missing now for a week.
John Niemiec with the IAFF says, "We need to remain hopeful. We need to remain strong and we need to remain positive."
As this community copes with the anguish of uncertainty, the circumstances surrounding this firefighter's disappearance remain unclear.
Fire officials confirm that last Wednesday Mittendorff called out sick and didn't report to work Friday, her next scheduled shift.
Saturday her Mini Cooper was found two hours away parked at a trail head in the Shenandoah National Park.
For days search teams have combed miles of rugged trail in vain.
"We ask, we beg for her safe return to us," says Father Bill Korpi.
At Fire Station 32 a candle of hope will remain aflame until Nicole comes home, and firefighters will wear a ribbon and pin until such time as well.