As city of Bryan mourns, investigation begins into deaths of two firefighters

February 18, 2013 3:13:37 PM PST
While the city of Bryan and its fire department mourn the loss of two firefighters, the investigation begins into exactly what happened late Friday night. Lieutenant Eric Wallace and Lieutenant Gregory Pickard died fighting a fire at the Knights of Columbus Hall.

As investigators sifted through the burned debris looking for clues, the neighbor who watched the Knights of Columbus Hall burn down Friday night grieved for the lost firefighters.

"The sad part is, got to me, that I have five children, and the firefighter, he had five children so," said neighbor Jeanine Gallegos.

The deaths of Lt. Pickard and Lt. Wallace have devastated the Bryan Fire Department. To help them cope, members of the Houston Fire Department's Critical Instances Response Team have been in Bryan all weekend.

"What we do is address the mental and emotional needs of the firefighters," said HFD Capt. Scott Shaunfield.

HFD's staff psychologist has counseled a number of Bryan firefighters in the last 48 hours, described as psychological first aid.

"They have to get back to work, and protecting the city, so they have very little time to recover before they're expected to be back on the job," said HFD Psychologist Dr. Sam Buser.

Meanwhile, the STF, the state fire marshal's office, as well as Bryan investigators continue to look for clues into exactly what happened. Nobody would comment on camera about the status of the investigation, as the community of Bryan continues to mourn.

"It's just so sad to see it like that," said resident Jan Rosser .

Two other firefighters were burned in the roof collapse. Ricky Mantey, Jr. and Mitchel Moran are both in serious, but stable condition at UTMB in Galveston.

Bryan Fire Chief Randy McGregor says they've been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support they've received from local fire departments and from departments across the country.

Take ABC13 with you!
Download our free apps for iPhone, iPad, Android and Blackberry devices