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Thread: Texas Firefighter Killed As Fire Surrounds Crew

  1. #1
    Registered User SeaBreeze's Avatar
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    Texas Firefighter Killed As Fire Surrounds Crew

    Texas Firefighter Killed As Fire Surrounds Crew
    Two Others Seriously Injured in Auto Shop Inferno

    ............
    DAVE J. IANNONE
    Firehouse.com News

    Updated: 01-19-2003 10:43:58 PM


    Porter, Texas volunteer firefighter Gary Stately, 33, was killed and two others seriously injured when they became surrounded by fire in an apparant flashover in an auto repair shop blaze.

    At about 9:45 a.m., the Porter Volunteer Fire Department received a call for a building fire at Loop 494 and Hammond Road, in Porter.

    The building, just six blocks from the station, was well known to firefighters as the owner restored and fixed antique and classic cars, according to Houston Fire Department Public Information Officer Jay Evans.

    The first engine from Porter arrived with heavy fire and smoke from the rear of a 100x100 wood and sheet metal building, Evans said.

    "The four firefighters jumped off with a 1 3/4" line and made a tactical move to go in on the unburned side, through the showroom," he said.

    As the crew went through the showroom and three feet inside the shop area, an apparant flashover occurred, surrounding the entire crew in flames.

    "The entire show room [is on fire now], trapping them," Evans said. Air horns were sounded and all crews ordered out of the building as it immediately became clear something had gone critically wrong.

    Three of the four firefighters in the initial attack crew make their way out of the building. Two "are litterally on fire" when they arrive outside, and are put out with a second hand line. Both were transported to local hospitals with serious injuries, Evans said. A third firefighter suffered burns to the hands and forearms and was treated on the scene.

    Stately apparantly became disoriented while trying to exit the building.

    "He turned to get out and was on his belly feeling his way out just like we're taught to do," Evans said. "But he crawled into an office and was unable to figure out which way to go, and that's where he was found."

    Units from throughout southern Montgomery County as well as two alarms of units from the city of Houston operated at the scene for several hours.

    Further information was expected to be released Monday.


    http://cms.firehouse.com/content/art...5&sectionId=39

  2. #2
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    Staley, Gary

    Age: 32
    Rank: Firefighter
    Status: Volunteer
    Incident Date: 01/19/2003
    Incident Time: 09:45
    Death Date: 01/19/2003

    Cause of Death: Caught or Trapped
    Nature of Death:
    Emergency Duty: Yes
    Duty Type: Fireground Operations
    Activity Type: Advancing Hose Lines/Fire Attack
    Fixed Prop. Use: Store/Office

    Fire Dept. Info:
    Porter Volunteer Fire Department
    P.O. Box 42
    Porter, Texas 77365
    Chief: Jody Binnion

    Initial Summary:
    Firefighter Staley died from injuries received when he became trapped due to rapid fire progress while working on a hose line in an auto repair shop blaze. Funeral: Forest Cove Baptist Church, on Friday, January 24 at 10 a.m.

    Memorial Fund Info:
    Southwest Bank of Texas, 23741 Highway 59, Suite 2, Porter, Texas, 77365. The phone number is (713) 232-3802


    http://www.usfa.fema.gov/application....cfm?p_id=1379

  3. #3
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    Fallen volunteer firefighter relished his work

    Fallen volunteer firefighter relished his work

    Copyright 2003 The Houston Chronicle Publishing Company
    The Houston Chronicle...01/21/2003

    HARVEY RICE

    PORTER - Gary Staley died doing a difficult, life-threatening job that paid nothing.

    The 33-year-old Porter resident often had to fight fires all night, shower, then report to his full-time job in the morning as an accountant at Anadarko Petroleum in The Woodlands.

    Yet Staley, who died Sunday in a gush of flames while fighting a fire in Montgomery County, relished his job as a firefighter for the Porter Volunteer Fire Department.

    "It was his life," said his brother, Matt Staley, 26.

    "Firefighting changed his life from being a person who was just here and really didn't care much to being a person who had a reason to live."

    Staley and three other firemen were handling a firehose just inside a burning building in Porter shortly after 9:45 a.m. when flames erupted.

    Three firefighters followed the fire hose out of the blaze. Staley's body was found about 20 yards from the hose that could have led him to safety.

    Porter firefighter Juan Chapa, 20, was in good condition Monday in the burn unit at Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston with burns to his hands and face. New Caney firefighter Allan Hayes, 32, was in fair condition. A Porter firefighter, whose name a spokesman declined to release, was at home with burns on his hands.

    Jay Evans of the Houston Fire Department, who served as spokesman for the Porter department, said investigators from the Montgomery County Fire Marshal's office suspect that fumes from recently applied shellac may have been ignited by a spark. However, the investigation is continuing.

    When Staley joined the Porter department in early 2000, he became a member of a fraternity of volunteers who are able to tolerate the constant training, endless equipment maintenance, sleepless nights and broken social engagements.

    They get no pay, but they experience a camaraderie that comes only from knowing that your life may depend on the man next to you.

    "The pay you get is the satisfaction of helping your community by saving life and property," Evans said.

    "There is a sense of accomplishment that you've been where the average man won't go."

    Porter firefighters tried to take their mind off their grief by stacking fire hoses Monday morning. But every now and then they would gather by Fire Engine R-121, the one that carried Staley to his death, and some of them would begin to sob, Evans said.

    "It's the closest familyhood there is among anybody," said Ray Vaden, 21, station captain for the Splendora Volunteer Fire Department. "You have to trust every person with your life."

    Staley's closeness to his fellow firefighters is reflected in their kindness toward his family. Firefighters are chauffeuring the family everywhere and offered to pay for the funeral, Matt Staley said.

    They won't have to pay for the funeral because the Rosewood Funeral Home and Cemetery is donating its services, spokesman Sparky Nolan said.

    Volunteers at the Porter department were too grief-stricken to comment. But Vaden, who had worked at several fires with Staley, said it takes a special kind of person to become a volunteer firefighter.

    "I've been on call, took a shower and went straight to work and that's part of everybody's job," Vaden said. "You've got to be dedicated, very driven, but it's also something you have to enjoy very much,"

    Staley's zeal is reflected in the number of calls he responded to in 2002, Evans said. Staley responded to 304 calls, putting him in the station's exclusive 250 Club for firefighters responding to more than 250 calls in a year.

    Staley graduated from Kingwood High School, where his dedication to soccer foreshadowed his dedication to firefighting.

    "He was a leader; whatever he did, he put his all into it," recalled his mother, Ruby.

    The Porter firefighters have started a fund at the Southwest Bank of Texas in Porter to provide for Staley's 8-year-old daughter, Courtney. Donations can be sent to the bank at 23741 U.S. 59, Suite 2, Porter, TX 77365. The phone number is (281) 354-8398.

    Visitation is scheduled for 6-9 p.m. Thursday at the Rosewood Funeral Home and Cemetery at 22271 U.S. 59.

    Funeral services are scheduled for 10 a.m. Friday at Forest Cove Baptist Church, 22770 U.S. 59. The family requests donations to the fund for Staley's daughter in lieu of flowers.

    . . .

    Courtney fund

    The Porter firefighters have started a fund at the Southwest Bank of Texas in Porter to provide for Staley's 8-year-old daughter, Courtney. Donations can be sent to the bank at 23741 U.S. 59, Suite 2, Porter, Texas, 77365. The phone number is 281-354-8398.



    http://webpublisher.lexisnexis.com/i...-Y3G9-00000-00

  4. #4
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    Volunteer firefighter dies inside burning building

    Volunteer firefighter dies inside burning building

    By MIKE GLENN
    Copyright 2003 Houston Chronicle

    PORTER -- A Porter volunteer firefighter died Sunday when flames trapped him and three other firefighters inside a burning building in Montgomery County.

    The fire that killed Gary Staley, 33, who had been with the department about a year, broke out about 9:45 a.m. at a classic and antique car showroom at Loop 494 and Hammond north of Kingwood.

    Porter firefighter Juan Chapa, 20, and Allen Haynes, 28, of the New Caney Volunteer Fire Department escaped but were rushed to Memorial Hermann Hospital with second- and third-degree burns to the face, neck and chest.

    "It's my understanding that they are stable at this time," said senior investigator Jimmy Williams of the Montgomery County Fire Marshal's Office.

    The fourth firefighter made it to safety and was treated by paramedics at the scene.

    State and county fire marshals and the arson task force from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms were at the scene late Sunday, searching through the building's remains.

    Officials said they didn't know what sparked the flash fire.

    Firefighters, wiping away tears and holding each other for support, formed an honor guard as the flag-draped body was carried to a hearse.

    "Gary will never be forgotten," said Porter Fire Chief Jody Binnion.

    Crews from area fire departments responded to the blaze after witnesses spotted smoke coming from the rear of the not-yet-opened business. Staley and the other firefighters were wearing full protective gear as they guided a hose inside the building. Binnion heard an explosion about a minute later.

    "When I turned around, I saw the three guys crawling back out. They followed the hose," he said. "We don't know why or how Gary got separated from the other three guys."

    After the flames were extinguished, Staley was found fewer than 20 yards from the hose that could have led him to safety.

    "We train our guys strong and hard. They are smart firefighters," Binnion said."There's not a typical fire. It can happen anywhere at anytime."

    A worker was laying tile in the building when the fire broke out. After cleaning the floor and applying adhesive for the tiles, he plugged in a heater and spotted a thin blue flame shoot from the wall socket.

    "It was about the size of your finger. As he turned, the whole room was just engulfed in flames. All he could think about was just getting out," said the Rev. Mitchel Bell, a Porter minister who drove the man home after paramedics treated him for burns.

    "He could see the flames but he could see through them. He ran out of the building," Bell said.

    Neighbor Vernon Sutton dashed from his home after hearing the eruption next door.

    "You could tell smoke was coming out of the building," he said. Even before fire crews arrived, Sutton spotted people pushing the company's classic cars away from the flames.

    Like other Porter residents at the scene, Sutton mourned the loss of the hometown firefighter.

    "It's bad for anybody to die, but it's one of the Porter boys, so that really makes it bad," he said.

    In 1995, a Porter firefighter died of cardiac arrest while responding to a call, but Staley's death was the first fire-related fatality since the department was formed in 1962, officials said.

    Staley worked in The Woodlands as an accountant for Anadarko Petroleum, but Binnion said he was devoted to his volunteer work.

    "He was a strong guy (and) loved the Fire Department," Binnion said. "If we would have let him, he would have spent the night, every night up here at the station."

    Staley was single and had an 8-year-old daughter, officials said.


    http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/story.hts/topstory/1742642

  5. #5
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    Fallen Firefighter Laid To Rest

    Fallen Firefighter Laid To Rest
    Memorial Fund Set Up For Victim's Family

    POSTED: 3:06 p.m. CST January 24, 2003
    UPDATED: 3:18 p.m. CST January 24, 2003


    Story by Click2Houston

    KINGWOOD, Texas -- A fallen volunteer firefighter was laid to rest Friday after he died in the line of duty.


    Gary Staley, 33, died Sunday morning while battling a blaze at an antique car showroom and shop in Porter.

    Staley was a member of the Porter Volunteer Fire Department.

    His funeral service was held at the Forest Cove Baptist Church, 22770 U.S. Highway 59 N., in Kingwood.

    Porter firefighters were aided by more than a dozen nearby fire departments, who helped to extinguish the blaze.

    Two other firefighters were injured in the blaze, suffering second- and third-degree burns to their face, neck and chest, authorities said.

    Hundreds of firefighters and officers attended the service.

    Staley's comrades said that he was "one of the guys" and "that he died doing what he loved to do."

    Staley leaves behind an 8-year-old daughter.

    A fund has been set up for Staley's family.

    Donations can be made at Southwest Bank of Texas in Porter. For more information, call (713) 232-3802.


    http://cms.firehouse.com/content/art...1&sectionId=46


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