1 firefighter killed, 2 seriously hurt in San Antonio fireMay 19, 2017 5:27pm

SAN ANTONIO (AP) — A San Antonio firefighter was killed and two others were seriously hurt while battling a blaze at a strip mall that grew so intense that fire crews were forced to retreat as parts of the building collapsed.

Fire Chief Charles Hood said firefighters entered the mall Thursday night to ensure no people were inside the various businesses and also to attack flames from the interior. But firefighters were forced to pull back as the building weakened, he said.

Authorities learned that one firefighter, Scott Deem, was missing and Hood said he became trapped inside. The six-year department veteran was later found dead among the debris.

About 100 firefighters stood in salute as an ambulance carried away his body early Friday.

"It was a very rough decision to leave a firefighter behind," an emotional Hood told reporters who gathered at the scene northwest of downtown. "That is not what we do, but we had the risk of losing probably an additional 15 to 20 firefighters if we did not go defensive on this fire."

"We have firefighters that fought desperately tonight to try to save their friend's life," Hood said.

There were at least four businesses operating out of the strip mall. Deem's body was found amid the ruins of a gym, Hood said at a later news conference. He said the order to have firefighters evacuate the structure knowing that Deem was still missing was "the most difficult decision of my life."

Deem, 31, was the father of two children and his wife is pregnant with their third.

Another firefighter suffered critical injuries and a second was seriously hurt, officials said.

"We are anticipating both of these firefighters are going to be OK, but we're asking for your prayers," the chief said.

Investigators have not said what caused the fire.

Gov. Greg Abbott said in a statement that he and his wife Cecilia extended their sympathies to Deem's family "during this unimaginably difficult time."

"Those who put their lives on the line to serve others deserve our deepest respect, and we can never say thank you enough," he said.

The last San Antonio firefighter to die on duty was in 1997 when one suffered a heart attack while battling a fire, the San Antonio Express-News reported.

Page 1 of 1

More Stories Like This

Witness: 2016 Texas train crash, blast "like the Hindenburg"A witness to a deadly head-on train collision 11 months ago in the Texas Panhandle told federal investigators the ensuing blast looked "like the Hindenburg" airship famous in film and photos when it blew up in 1937.
In this May 6, 2017 photo provided by Travis Kalanick, Uber Chief Executive Officer, Kalanick, center, poses with his mother, Bonnie, right, and father, Donald Kalanick, left, at the Kentucky Derby in Louisville, Ky. Bonnie Kalanick, 71, died after the boat she and her husband, Donald, were riding Friday evening, May 26, hit a rock in Pine Flat Lake in the eastern part of Fresno County, in California, authorities said. (Travis Kalanick/Uber via AP)
Mother of Uber CEO Travis Kalanick killed in boat accident
Authorities: Fourth person in Des Moines apartment fire diesA fourth person has died from injuries received in a Des Moines apartment fire that raged earlier this week
FILE – In this April 12, 2017, file photo, visitors read a sign about a Nile hippopotamus named Fiona born prematurely as they pass through the Hippo Cove exhibit at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden in Cincinnati. No public events are planned at the Cincinnati Zoo marking the one-year anniversary of the May 28, 2016, shooting of an endangered gorilla named Harambe. Zoo officials said positive response to the hippo's birth has helped a healing process after Harambe's death. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)
No public events at Ohio zoo where gorilla killed 1 year ago
Philadelphia house fire claims lives of 2 children, 1 womanAuthorities are investigating the cause of an early morning fire at a Philadelphia home that claimed the lives of three people, including two children
4 killed, 5 injured in minivan-pickup crash in WisconsinAuthorities say four people were killed and five others were injured in a two-vehicle crash near Cornell in northwestern Wisconsin
AdChoices

Related Searches

Related Searches

AdChoices