In the months since that deadly day, the Houston Fire Department has produced its own report into the fire at the Southwest Inn, reports KHOU.
Council member Brenda Starling heard about that for the first time in this hearing, “I don’t want to be at another funeral,” was her first reaction to the Assistant Chief.
Communication is the heart of the report. It is not cited as a direct cause but certainly a contributing factor in the deaths. Months later that radio system is still a work in progress.
Starling continued, “So what do we need to get these radio communications to where they need to be today? Not tomorrow, not next week, not a phase in.”
There are still dead spots in numerous buildings across the city.
Council Members are already calling for new action, C.O. Bradford’s first thoughts: “Have 3rd party independent testing of the tens of millions of dollars of technology that we are deploying in the City of Houston.”
The radio system was put in service early because of a catastrophic failure of the old one.
On the day of the Southwest Inn Fire those radios had only been in service 30 days and on the first hour of that fire no one could communicate at all 11 percent of the time.
The problem was found to be too many people trying to talk at the same time.
There is a button for mayday on the new fire radios but none were activated and the call still came.
“Mayday. Mayday.” The call continued with commanders on the scene responding, “We have a Mayday on the location we need a location. Engine 60 deploy for the mayday.”
There are two on-going investigations, one state and one federal with reports still to come.
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