BRYAN, Texas – Saturday marked the one-year anniversary of a terrible fire in Bryan that killed two firefighters and left two others fighting for their lives.
According to a report from KBTX, the Knights of Columbus fire broke out on a Friday night, Feb. 15, 2013.
Bryan Fire Chief Randy McGregor said it has been a long healing process for the whole department and the community.
Faded silk flowers for the two Bryan firefighters who lost their lives mark the site where the Knights of Columbus Hall caught fire at Groesbeck Street and Palasota Drive.
But the burned building has been torn down since that tragic night.
Only a few charred pieces of the building remain as solemn reminders of what happened.
Lt. Eric Wallace was one of the first responders who entered the inferno.
At one point he and firefighter Eric Juergen radioed they were low on air and needed assistance.
Lt. Gregory Pickard and firefighters Ricky Mantey Jr. and Mitch Moran went in to pull Wallace out.
Wallace and Pickard died, Mantey and Moran were seriously injured. Juergen got out safely.
A year later McGregor remembers his feelings that night and the days that followed.
“You know when it happened, it just seemed like this is just a bad dream, we’re going to wake up from it, but reality obviously set in. But I go back to the people of this organization. They’re very strong, very close knit and the support, we lean on each other,” said McGregor.
The Bryan Fire Department held a memorial service for Wallace and Pickard at the Firefighters Memorial Monument in downtown Bryan.
McGregor is still waiting on a State Fire Marshal report on the fire investigation. However, he said some safety changes have already been instituted within his department.
McGregor said, “We certainly evaluated this situation and we’ve looked at solutions, if the situation we encountered that night were to come up again, and we’ve implemented several things that we feel like will help keep our firefighters safe in these types of situations.”