HOUSTON As the city of Houston grieves the loss of four firefighters in a massive southwest Houston motel fire, the search for answers is underway.
The firefighters died Friday while battling a 5-alarm blaze at the Southwest Inn motel located near the Southwest Freeway at Hillcroft. Three bodies were found in the rubble and a fourth firefighter died after being rushed to Southwest Memorial Hermann Hospital.
The firefighters have been identified as: Captain EMT Matthew Renaud, 35, of Station 51;Firefighter EMT Robert Garner, 29, of Station 68; Probationary Firefighter Anne Sullivan, 24, of Station 68; and Engineer Operator EMT Robert Bebee, 41, of Station 51.
Racks of powerful lights were brought in Friday night so the investigation could continue throughout the night
Investigators said they will leave nothing untouched as the Houston Fire Department tries to determine what caused blaze.
The investigation will start from the beginning, 12:09 p.m. Friday when someone from the Bhojar Restaurant called 911.
Sources within the fire department said the fire may have started in the sports bar at the motel.
Late Friday evening KHOU 11 News witnessed an arson investigator high atop a ladder truck taking photos of an area where there had clearly been a collapse.
Fire Chief Terry Garrison was the only one talking about the investigation. He explained why firefighters went into the fully-involved lobby.
They were in the highest amount of risk possible because we thought we had some civilians in the structure, he said.
There were some 40 guests staying at the motel, many of them had been there for months.
They were risking their lives to save our community, unfortunately, the building had more fire than we originally thought the structure collapsed on our members, he said.
HFD arson is taking the lead in the investigation and they re being joined by Houston Police Department detectives who could take over if it turns out to be some type of criminal act.
Federal and state investigators were there, too, all searching for answers.