Fire fighters have spent most of Friday afternoon, May 31, 2013, battling a five-alarm blaze that broke out at a hotel restaurant. The Houston Chronicle reports that the fire is in the southwest portion of the city along US 59.
At last report, five fire fighters have been injured and transported to local area hospitals. According to Click 2 Houston, two of the fire fighters are listed in critical condition, two are listed at extremely critical and one suffered a leg injury. The injuries are largely being attributed to the roof of the building collapsing as the fire traveled throughout the complex.
"I've heard four to five firefighters injured … it sounds like a couple are going to be critical," said Jeff Caynon, president of the Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association, who was at Memorial Hermann Hospital. "The roof collapsed. I don't know if that was folks outside next to the structure or inside when it collapsed, but the collapse is going to be the cause."
According to KHOU News, there is no word on whether all of the hotel guests and employees have been accounted for. In contrast, ABS Local is reporting that all guests and employees are safely out of the building. The fire was still going as of 4 p.m. Dozens of fire fighters were on the scene as the flames broke out quickly around noon. Fire fighters are still working to contain the blaze. The situation is intense as temperatures in the area are around 90 degrees with high humidity.
ABC Local reports that the black smoke from the fire can be seen miles, and many of the portions of the Southwest Freeway have been closed in the area.
Training for these situations allows fire fighters and crews to remain as safe as possible. Blazes like these put lives at risk and the fire can spread quickly without warning. As the temperatures continue to rise in Houston, fire fighters and support crews must hold to their training to ensure that even simple dehydration does not leave them vulnerable to danger. Those officials who are in charge at the scene must know who is trained to deal with what and how his or her fire fighters will react in the face of such a blaze.
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