KINGWOOD, TX --A veteran Houston firefighter died Wednesday from injuries he suffered in a two-alarm blaze at a Kingwood home.
The victim has been identified as Station 104 paramedic and firefighter Daniel Groover. He has been with the department since 1993.
Authorities say Groover was one of several firefighters who responded Wednesday afternoon to a house in the 1400 block of Mistletoe Lane near Redbud.
Mayor Annise Parker says Groover collapsed while he was performing a search and rescue mission inside the house. Houston Fire Department Spokesman Ruy Lozano says a rapid intervention crew immediately went to search for him and they found him lying on the ground. Firefighters pulled him out of home and began administering CPR.
Lozano says Groover was transported to Kingwood Medical Center in "extremely critical condition." Mayor Annise Parker rushed to the hospital, where Groover died.
"It really just breaks your heart, to pay see him pay the ultimate price," said neighbor Kevin Spencer.
Authorities say they've now determined no one was inside the home at the time of the fire, but firefighters were acting on the assumption that may have been the case.
A procession of about 50 fire units lined the streets as Groover was taken from the Kingwood Medical Center to the Harris County Medical Examiner's Office for an autopsy.
"When we lose one of our own it's always difficult. When we lose one of our own it's always difficult and you just feel like you have to do something to show tribute." said Sr. Capt. Ruy Lozano of HFD.
"Our job now as a fire department is to support Ellie, his wife and his three adult sons," said Houston Fire Chief Terry Garrison.
Questions are still looming about the ammunition heard going off at the home during the fire. The ATF, Houston arson and state fire marshal investigators are still at the scene, trying to determine the cause of the blaze.
HFD tells us there will be a special autopsy, mandated by protocol, which will be performed to determine the cause of death.
Meanwhile, those who didn't know Groover shared their grief at his Fire Station 104 on Thursday. They brought food, flowers, cards, balloons and placed it all just feet from Groover's empty locker.
"None of our words can really assist them in the comfort that they need," said Ginger Cross with H-E-B in Kingwood.
A funeral procession for the fallen firefighter begins 9am Saturday at College Park High School and ends at the Fellowship of The Woodlands Church, where a public memorial service begins at 10am. Groover is set to be buried Monday during a private service at the Houston National Cemetery.
The 100 Club announced it will give $20,000 to Groover's family to help with an immediate financial needs. Groover leaves behind a wife and three adult children.
Also, a foundation dedicated to a firefighter killed in the Southwest Inn fire is also fundraising for the Groover family. The Captain Renaud Foundation will give 100 percent of donations it recieves this month to the Groover family.
If you're intersted in making a contribution, just visit the 100 Club's or the Captain Renaud Foundation website.