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2 firefighters dead, 2 hurt in Texas lodge fire

The crew entered the burning building but didn't emerge when ordered to evacuate

Duty Death: Gregory Pickard - [Bryan, Texas]

The Associated Press

BRYAN, Texas — Two Texas fire lieutenants have died of burns after battling a lodge hall fire, a city official said Saturday.

Gregory Pickard and Eric Wallace, both with the department in the Central Texas city of Bryan, were in a group of firefighters responding to the blaze about midnight Friday at a Knights of Columbus hall, city spokeswoman Mary Lynne Stratta said.

The team entered the burning building but didn't emerge when ordered to evacuate, Stratta said.

Wallace, 36, died at the scene and Pickard, 54, on Saturday at a hospital in Galveston, she said.

"He called for help, said he was low on air," Stratta said of Wallace, a 13-year Bryan Fire Department veteran.

Rapid response units found the men inside the building. Mantey, 30, and Moran, 21, also were injured. They were taken to the Galveston hospital with burns. On Saturday, Stratta said they were both in serious but stable condition.

The Texas State Fire Marshal's office is investigating the cause of the fire in Bryan, about 90 miles northwest of Houston. A news release from the city said nothing was being held at the hall at the time.

"These four courageous individuals represent the best of the profession and are true heroes in every sense of the word," Bryan Fire Chief Randy McGregor said.

Services for Wallace are scheduled for Thursday in Bryan, while those for Pickard, a 32-year veteran of the department, are pending.

Associated PressCopyright 2015 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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Karen Rigsby-Ferree Karen Rigsby-Ferree Sunday, February 17, 2013 9:40:40 AM My prayer and thoughts for the Fire Department's loss, and to the family and friends of these brave men! God Bless!
Cindy Howarth Cindy Howarth Sunday, February 17, 2013 9:42:38 AM I am so sorry to hear this! It seems to be happening all to frequently lately. My heart and prayers go out to their families and co-workers. So very sad. I hope and pray the two injured firefighters have a full and speedy recovery.
Steve Melde Steve Melde Sunday, February 17, 2013 10:09:13 AM Sad news. RIP brothers. Condolences to all those grieving their loss. You are not alone.
Allie Chorney Allie Chorney Sunday, February 17, 2013 7:30:20 PM I'm very sorry for the families of the firefighters who were lost due to the fire and I pray the other two firefighters make a full recovery. My prayers go out to the families of all firefighters. Thank you to all that you firefighters for the heroic things you do.
Sarah Lamb Sarah Lamb Monday, February 18, 2013 9:32:47 AM RIP brothers, may God comfort your family, friends and co-workers in this sad time.
Mwewa Golden Mwewa Golden Saturday, June 01, 2013 1:41:30 AM May the good Lord be with the families during traumatic moment and I wish quick recovery of the fire fighters in pain. Golden.

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