Two firefighters were killed and another two severely injured following a fire that broke out in a Texas lodge, officials said Saturday.
- (PHOTO:YouTube Clip/newsandmagazine)
The fire began around midnight on Friday at a Knights of Columbus hall in Bryan, Texas. Members of the Central Texas fire department responded according to reports, attempting to calm the flames.
Eric Wallace, 36, and Greg Pickard, 54, both fire department lieutenants were killed, city spokeswoman Mary Lynne Stratta said.
"Wallace, a 13-year veteran, was among the first rescuers that rushed into the lodge looking for occupants," the Los Angeles Times reported. "He broadcast over his radio that he was running low on oxygen. When he did not come out of the building a few minutes later, Pickard and two other Bryan firefighters rushed inside to look for him. They, too, were overcome by the smoke." Wallace died at the scene.
Bryan Fire Chief Randy McGregor announced on Saturday that Pickard had passed from injuries sustained during the blaze. Firefighters Ricky Mantey and Mitch Moran, who entered the lodge with Pickard also suffered burn wounds, but were pronounced in stable condition according to WTAW.
Pickard had served the city of Bryan for over 32 years. A group of wives attached to firemen in the department planned a candlelight memorial for Sunday night. Pickard's funeral will take place Thursday at the First Baptist Church of Bryan.
It is still unclear how the fire started. An investigation has been launched into what may have caused the fire, which decimated the lodgings and killed both men.
"Governor Perry has authorized the lowering of the Texas flag to half staff by all governmental entities in the area to recognize the line of duty death of Lt. Wallace," WTAW reported.