Firefighters injured battling house fire

November 4, 2008 5:53:03 PM PST
Two firefighters are recovering from injures they sustained during a two-alarm house fire. One of those firefighters is still in critical condition. It happened at a home on Linder near the Eastex Freeway in northeast Houston. One firefighter was critically injured and the other has burns on his hands.

"A couple of firefighters got the fire pushed back on them. They weren't trapped, but they just got the fire pushed back on them. We're not sure exactly what happened. Once they pulled a mayday, it went to a second alarm. That was automatic," said Houston Fire Department District Chief Tommy Dowdy. "They pulled them out. Two of them were transported to Hermann. One of them with some burns on the hands and one of them with burns on his upper body and head and he's in serious condition."

The critically injured firefighter has burns on his upper body and is at risk for smoke inhalation. He has been identified as Captain Darin Unruh, a 10 year veteran. He was treated in the Memorial Hermann's hyperbaric chamber last night. The chamber is used to force oxygen into the lungs and help clear them of smoke to help him breathe.

"Right now, he is in critical condition. We're here to support the family and fellow firefighters," said HFD Assistant Chief Omero Longoria. "We're asking that the public say a special prayer for the Unruh family. We would appreciate that."

HFD Chaplain Garry Blackmon said, "They're real strong people, in their faith. We've had a lot of prayer this morning for Darin. He's not out of the woods yet. But we're believing that God is going to bring him through this."

More than 100 firefighters visited the hospital since the pair was admitted. Mayor White visited the firefighters at the hospital last night, as well.

The firefighter who suffered burns on his hands has been treated and released. He has been identified as Dennis Valencia.

It has been about a year since a firefighter has suffered this serious of an injury while fighting a fire. The cause of the house fire is not certain.

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