Private funerals held for last of four fallen HFD firefighters

Family and friends said a final goodbye to Robert Bebee and Robert Garner

HOUSTON - The last of four firefighters killed in a motel fire one week ago were laid to rest Friday. Private services were held for engineer operator Robert Bebee and firefighter Robert Garner as their families and friends said a final goodbye.

In the meantime, the investigation into the fire that took their lives is continuing.

High above the burnt debris where the Southwest Inn once stood, investigators search for answers. This team is determined to uncover the cause of the 5-alarm fire and building collapse that claimed the lives of four firefighters and injured 13 more.

"Everybody's got a role to play -- arson, HPD, ATF, everybody. The answers will be there. It will just take time," said Chief Robert Branch, HFD Rescue Unit Chief.

So will the healing process, says Chief Branch, who oversees the Houston fire rescue unit. Six members of his team were injured in the fire as they tried to rescue fellow firefighters.

Now the last two of his team are finally out of the hospital. Anthony Livesay and Robert Yarborough are resting at home and slowly healing.

"There's no place like home and that's the best place for these guys to be right now," Chief Branch said.

But he says the two injured men are wondering if they did enough to help that day at the fire.

"It's been a hard process to deal with as far as, 'I could have done more,'" he said. "I think they've come to realize they did their job. They did it to the best of their ability. They were successful in what they did."

Branch says he and the rest of the team are right there with the families, giving the men the help they need.

"They've had tons and tons of people come by. Firefighters, personal friends to visit and kind of encourage them," Chief Branch said.

The amazing support of the entire city of Houston has also helped and Chief Branch says it's something the entire Houston Fire Department will need in the days, weeks and months ahead.

He said, "I just would hope that everybody would just... even though we say we'll never forget, that they'll actually place these people in their hearts and they won't forget."

As the last of the four firefighters killed in last week's motel fire were laid to rest, Houston firefighters are still coming to grips with their loss.

"It's a tough time but together we'll all get through it," Chief of Houston Fire Department's Rescue team Robert Branch said.

One more firefighter, Captain William Dowling of Station 68, remains in the hospital in critical condition.

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