Bryan Fire Chief Reveals Cause of Deadly Fire

By: KBTX Staff Email
By: KBTX Staff Email


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A press conference on Tuesday has revealed the cause of the fire that took two Bryan firefighter's lives late Friday. A fan that was located in the kitchen of the building had a faulty cord that caught on fire. The initial report states that this incident was an accident.

Bryan Fire Chief Randy McGregor stated that Firefighter Ricky Mantey was able to walk today. As he took his first steps since the fire, his family, friends, and fellow firefighters broke out in applause.

McGregor also said that Mantey has had improvements but still has a long way to go and prayers are still needed for him and Mitch Moran, a Probationary Firefighter injured in the fire Tuesday.



Few new details were released, but emotion was plainly evident at a Sunday morning press conference in Bryan regarding Friday night's fire that left two firefighters dead and two injured.

Bryan Fire Chief Randy McGregor, flanked by city leaders and other fire officials, thanked the community and other agencies for their support as they continue to search for answers at the old Knights of Columbus Hall on Groesbeck Drive south of downtown.

Investigators with the state fire marshals office remain in town, and their probe into the fire could last six months, according to Chief McGregor.

Two lieutenants, Eric Wallace and Greg Pickard, died from injuries suffered as they fought the fire. McGregor called it the worst tragedy in the history of the Bryan Fire Department.

"Every day we deal with challenges. That's the nature of our work; some more difficult than others. Without a doubt, this is the most difficult situation our organization has ever faced since we began in 1871," said Fire Chief McGregor.

While the chief said Sunday they believe they have a good idea of the cause, he said he would not say for sure what happened late Friday. Reportedly, a portion of the roof of the old building collapsed around the time Lt. Wallace, 36, had started calling for assistance because he was low on oxygen.

Lt. Pickard, Firefighter Ricky Mantey and Probationary Firefighter Mitch Moran had entered the building to help Wallace. The three had to be taken to the University of Texas Medical Branch burn unit in Galveston from St. Joseph Hospital in Bryan.

Pickard, 54, died Saturday afternoon. Mantey, 30, and Moran, 21, remain in stable condition, according to McGregor Sunday morning. He would not elaborate on the extent of their injuries.

Wallace had spent nearly 13 years with BFD with a wife and five kids. Pickard was a 32-year veteran, and was married with two children -- including a College Station firefighter -- and three grandchildren.

A vigil for the fallen and injured firefighters is set for 7:30 p.m. Sunday at Merrill Green Stadium at Bryan High School.

Wallace's funeral is set for Thursday at 10:00 a.m. at First Baptist Church of Bryan. Visitation will be held in Marlin. Arrangements for Pickard are pending.

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