UPDATE 7:00 a.m. EST: The Houston Chronicle (http://bit.ly/10Papgh) reports that 13 firefighters were injured in the fire.
“We arrived on the scene and about 14 minutes after our arrival we had a mayday,” HFD Chief Terry Garrison said.
In an instant or close to it, a group of firefighters who had put themselves in deliberate jeopardy out of concern that people might be trapped inside the Southwest Inn were buried in burning debris. The precise series of events is at the heart of an investigation to be led by ATF specialists, who arrived at the scene later in the day. But the gist of it was clear in seconds.
“We had an early and quick catastrophic failure of the roof,” Garrison said. “There’s no way that I would have anticipated that we would lose four firefighters. I want to tell the residents of Houston their firefighters acted absolutely courageously today, that there was probably a dozen acts of heroism on that scene.”
UPDATE 9:30 p.m. EST: The Houston Fire Department has released a statement identifying the fallen firefighters:
Capt. EMT Matthew Renaud, 35, of Station 51; EMT Robert Bebee, 41, of Station 51; EMT Robert Garner, 29, of Station 68; and Fire Station 68’s Anne Sullivan, 24, a recent graduate of the Houston Fire Department Academy.
“The Houston Fire Department has never seen four firefighters pass away from the same incident in the history of the department,” the statement reads. “Our deepest thoughts and prayers are with not only those friends and family of those who gave the ultimate sacrifice today but also those who were injured and all members of our department.”
Five firefighters were also reported injured, two critically, while fighting the fire that broke out about 12:09 p.m. at Bhojan Restaurant. It engulfed the neighboring Southwest Inn along the Southwest Freeway, according to the Houston Fire Department. The flames also burned a sports bar and disco.
Read more coverage from the Houston Chronicle here http://bit.ly/13rdtRB
Original Story HOUSTON, TX-At a May 31 afternoon fire in Houston, TX, six firefighters were injured fighting a fire that originated in a restaurant and extended to a nearby Inn. According to The Houston Chronicle, Houston (TX) Fire Department Chief Terry Garrison has confirmed that four firefighters have died as a result of injuries sustained at the fire.
Initially the injured firefighters were transported to hospitals, with two of the injured listed in critical condition.
The fire eventually reached five alarms.
More information is available at http://bit.ly/11gV7UC.