Vigil held for fallen firefighters

2 firefighters dead, 2 others injured in blaze

BRYAN, Texas - A vigil and public memorial service on Sunday honored two firefighters who died while fighting a fire in Bryan.

Two other firefighters were injured in the fire.

The blaze started around 11 p.m. Friday at the Knights of Columbus Hall in the 1500 block of Groesbeck Drive. The building was unoccupied when the fire started. Firefighters were dispatched to the emergency and arrived at 11:24 p.m.

During their firefighting effort, Lieutenant Eric Wallace and another firefighter entered the building. Soon after, investigators said the two men radioed for assistance, saying they were low on air. At that point, both men were ordered to evacuate the building.

One firefighter managed to escape, but Lt. Wallace was still trapped inside.  According to reports, the fire department deployed a rapid intervention team--a group of firefighters standing by in case of trouble.

During their rescue efforts, several other firefighters -- including Ricky Mantey, Jr., Mitchell Moran, and Lt. Gregory Pickard -- all suffered burns. 

They removed Lt. Wallace from the burning building and transported him to the hospital, where he later succumbed to his injuries.

Saturday afternoon, Bryan Fire Chief Randy McGregor announced 54-year-old Lt. Pickard had also died from the injuries he sustained during the fire. The city said Lt. Pickard served the city of Bryan for 32 years.

Mantey and Moran remained in serious but stable condition at UTMB Galveston as of Sunday night.

The fire department said they would provide as much support as they can for the firefighters and their families.

The vigil is being planned by wives of College Station firefighters. It was scheduled to take place Sunday at 7:30 p.m. at Merrill Green Football Stadium. The College Station Fire Department's Pipes and Drums were expected to participate in the remembrance.

A public memorial service for Pickard and Wallace will be held Wednesday, Feb. 20, at 10:00 a.m. at Central Baptist Church. The church is located at 1991 Farm to Market Road 158 in College Station. Representatives and honor guards of fire departments from across the state are expected to participate in the proceedings.

Details regarding public parking, staging areas for visiting fire departments, etc., will be finalized and shared Monday.

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