Focus on Kitchen in Houston Fire Investigation

Investigators trying to determine the cause of a fire where four Houston firefighters were killed are focusing on an attic and the kitchen area of a restaurant connected to the motel where the fire spread and then the structure collapsed, reports the Associated Press.

“We’re trying to work ourselves in and trying to hone in on certain areas where there is the most fire damage,” Deputy Chief Ed Arthur said. “And right now, we’re focusing on an area in and around the area above the kitchen.”

He said city, state and federal investigators who began going through the rubble beginning Monday also detected the presence of heavy fire in the structure’s attic.

“They had combustible materials in the restaurant and the banquet area,” Arthur said. “The attic is what’s piquing our interest right now, why the fire accelerated so quickly in the attic.”

The fire Friday at the Southwest Inn, which grew to five alarms, was the single worst loss of life experienced by the Houston Fire Department in its 118-year history.

A memorial service for the four victims, who were trapped when the structure collapsed, was set for Wednesday at Houston’s Reliant Stadium. Some 30,000 to 40,000 people, including firefighters from around the nation, were expected.

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