BRYAN, Texas — A second firefighter has died Saturday from the injuries he sustained while fighting a fire Friday night at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Bryan, Texas.
Lt. Gregory Pickard, 54, was being treated at the burn unit at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. He was sent there early Saturday morning along with fellow firefighters, 30-year-old Ricky Mantey Jr. and 21-year-old Mitchel Moran.
Mantey and Moran were said to be in stable condition late Saturday night.
A doctor at the burn unit said Saturday afternoon that the firefighters may be hospitalized for more than a month due to their injuries.
Pickard has been with BFD for 32 years, according to the city of Bryan.
Lt. Eric Wallace, 36, died while fighting the fire which began at about 11:20 p.m. at the building located in the 1500 block of Groesbeck Drive.
Firefighters from Bryan and nearby College Station were called to the scene to battle the blaze.
City spokeswoman Mary Stratta said Wallace’s team went into the structure, but was ordered to evacuate.
Wallace didn’t come out and called for help, saying he was low on air. She said rapid response units found Wallace, a 13-year veteran, inside. An early report indicated Wallace became trapped when a portion of the roof reportedly collapsed.
The Texas State Fire Marshal’s office is investigating. The hall was vacant at the time of the fire.
According to KBTX-TV, Wallace, 36, was married with five children, according to the city of Bryan. He was a nearly 13-year veteran of the department. In June 2012, a fundraiser was held to help the Wallace family after the couple’s newest child was born premature.
In 2010, Wallace was honored by the 100 Club for bravery in a 2009 fire. He was off-duty, driving home from a shift when he saw a house on fire. When he found out the homeowner was still inside, he ran into the burning building. The homeowner was too weak to get out on his own, but Wallace pulled him to safety.
The Diocese of Austin, which includes the Bryan/College Station area, issued a statement Saturday afternoon offering their condolences to the families of the firefighters:
“We offer prayers for Lt. Eric Wallace and his family and for the firefighters who were injured. We offer our most sincere condolences to Lt. Wallace’s widow and his five children. We also seek the intercession of St. Florian, the patron saint of firefighters, for the recovery of the injured firefighters.”
Mantey has served BFD for five years, and Moran for 10 months.
There will be a candlelight vigil at candlelight vigil for the fallen firefighters Sunday at Merrill Green Stadium. Gates open at 6:30 p.m.
KBTX-TV also reported that a relief account has been set up at Wells Fargo for the fallen and injured firefighters’ families. Donations can be made to the Benefit Donation account for the Bryan Fire Department:
Wells Fargo Bank, Main Branch
Bryan, TX 77802
Attn: Bryan Firefighter Fund