Firefighter deaths in SW Inn fire caused by radios, attorney says

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Lawsuit filed against Motorola in 2013 Southwest Inn fire. (KTRK)

An attorney for the family members of four firefighters killed in the 2013 Southwest Inn fire says new evidence shows radio malfunctions caused 18 minutes in delays, preventing the first responders from being rescued.

The firefighters' families filed a federal lawsuit against Motorola, claiming the radios were the cause of their deaths.

Firefighters Anne Sullivan, Robert Garner, Matthew Renaud and Robert Beebe were killed in the fire along the Southwest Freeway on May 31, 2013.

HFD Captain William 'Iron Bill' Dowling, who was seriously injured in the fire and lost both of his legs after being pinned beneath burning debris, died on March 7, 2017.

A state report cited 96 radio breakdowns just weeks after a new $140 million radio system from Motorola Solutions had been implemented.

Beebe's family spoke with Eyewitness News back in 2016 after joining the lawsuit.

"When I read that report, that Motorola failed my baby, it really bothered me," said Sabina Beebe.

The company previously responded to the lawsuit in a statement provided to ABC13, stating that an "independent report after the fire listed numerous potential contributing factors."

The lawsuit is asking for more than $1 million in actual damages and more than $5 million in punitive damages for each family.

HFD Captain Dowling, who was injured in deadly 2013 motel fire, has died
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Captain Bill Dowling has died nearly four years after the fire at the Southwest Inn.

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