HOUSTON - Houston firefighters and their families are remembering their fallen comrades who died in the Southwest Inn fire, five years ago. The May 31, 2013 hotel fire is the deadliest day in Houston Fire Department history. Four firefighters were killed and 13 others injured while battling the five-alarm fire in Southwest Houston.
Retired firefighter Michael "Smitty" Smith was on the scene when the hotel's roof collapsed, killing Capt. EMT Matthew Renaud, Engineer Operator EMT Robert Bebee, Firefighter EMT Robert Garner and Probationary firefighter Anne Sullivan. Capt. William "Iron Bill" Dowling lost both of his legs.
"'Iron Bill' hung on there for another year or so, but he succumbed to all his injuries," Smith said.
Thursday, it was all about honoring the brave men and women who put their lives at risk to save others.
"It's a little healing," said Sabina Bebee, mother of deceased firefighter Robert Bebee. "Your heart's broken all the time, but being around everyone who loved him makes it easier on the heart."
It's a painful memory that won't soon fade.
"Certainly, the members of the family have to live with this every single day, " said Asst. Fire Chief Richard Mann. "Just remember them, pray for them. Even after five years, this pain never goes away."