Houston Firefighters Mourn the Loss of 2 of Their Own
In a tragic fire on Easter morning two Houston firefighters were killed battling a house fire. Captain James Harlow and probationary rookie firefighter Damion Hobbs, both from State 26, died at the scene while fighting a fire in southeast Houston. In order to attack the blaze, they decided to go on the defensive and use the ladder truck. Firefighters cut a hole in the roof, but the high wind fueled the fire and it quickly spread through the attic. Neighbors said firefighters were inside the home once the blaze appeared to be dying down. But flames suddenly shot through the roof and erupted sideways through the house. Firefighters were then called outside the home, but two were still missing. Their bodies were found in the house around 1 a.m. and 1:30 a.m. Rescue workers attempted CPR, but the men were pronounced dead at the scene, witnesses said.
Thursday follow the tragic deaths a memorial was held with thousands of firefighters from as far away as Canada showing their support for their fallen brothers. In a show of solidarity over 450 firefighters from elsewhere in the state of Texas covered local firehouses during the memorial service so the local firefighters could attend the memorial service.
The flag-draped caskets were placed on two fire trucks from Fire Station 26, and thousands of firefighters followed on foot. When the procession reached the church at 9 a.m., a large crowd of mourners had already gathered near the door. The caskets were carefully removed from the trucks as firefighters stood at attention. Ladder trucks formed an arch over the area leading into the sanctuary, and a light breeze fluttered dozens of American flags planted for the service. A line of uniformed firefighters, standing eight men wide, trailed from the door of the church to well past the parking lot perimeter. Behind them, fire trucks and ambulances were lined up for blocks. It took nearly an hour to get everyone inside.
“These men responded to someone they never met, tried to protect something they never owned. And we miss them terribly,” HFD Chief Phil Boriskie said.
“One of the things we struggle with as a department is that we routinely respond to the worst moment in someone’s life. Every day we see countless numbers of tragedies and accidents. And we are not immune,” Boriskie said.
There is an investigation under way to determine what happened and how it can be prevented in the future. Nobody knew the two men were in trouble until they didn’t return from the house.