Houston Fire Department statement:
The Houston Fire Department is saddened and deeply regrets to list the following members who gave the ultimate sacrifice from a fire in Southwest Houston this afternoon:
· Captain EMT Matthew Renaud (35) of Engine 68. He began his career with the Houston Fire Department in October of 2001 and in addition to Fire Station 68, has served out of stations 51, 39, 83, 73, 37, 60 and 35.
· Probationary Firefighter Anne Sullivan (24) of Station 68. She graduated from Houston Fire Department Academy this past April and was assigned to Station 68.
· Firefighter EMT Robert Garner (29) of Station 68. He began his career with the Houston Fire Department in October of 2010 and has served out of Fire Station 68 since.
· Engineer Operator EMT Robert Bebee (41) of Station 51. He began his career with the Houston Fire Department in August of 2001 and in addition to Station 51, has served out of stations 37, 40, 10 and 48.
There were also 5 firefighters initially transported to the hospital for injuries ranging from heat exhaustion to critical injuries.
· Captain William Dowling of Engine 68 is listed in critical condition.
The other firefighters are:
· Engineer Operator Anthony Livesay on Rescue 42;
· Firefighter EMT Robert Yarbrough on Rescue 42;
· Firefighter EMT Foster Santos on Rescue 11;
· Engineer Operator/Paramedic Marcus Hernandez on Medic 3;
· and Captain William Dowling on Engine 68.
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.
We appreciate your patience. We wanted to make sure all family members were notified of their loved-ones passing and injuries prior to informing our members.
What started as a small restaurant fire – a bit of business faced daily by firefighters everywhere – turned into a motel- engulfing inferno that claimed the lives of four responders from the Houston Fire Department when part of the building collapsed on them Friday. It was the department’s worst loss of life ever.
“We arrived on the scene and about 14 minutes after our arrival we had a mayday,” said HFD Chief Terry Garrison.
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.”
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