San Antonio Fire Chief Charles Hood says the fire that killed firefighter Scott Deem at a northwest strip mall last week was one of the worst fires in the history of the department. Several hundred firefighters responded. Fire investigators are still looking for the cause.
Chief Hood says investigators don’t yet know what caused the fatal fire. He says it’s too early to determine if any policies will need to be changed due to the fire and death of 31-year-old Scott Deem.
“This fire is still under active investigation at this time,” Hood said. “We just completed the interview process with all firefighters. We are still trying to comb the building to find out the cause.”
Chief Hood says the department is also simultaneously investigating what caused the death of Firefighter Deem and whether department operations were adequate.
“What we have learned is we’ve got a courageous group of men and women that are going to give their all to try to rescue one of their brothers,” Hood said. “We’ve also learned that the community is very generous, that they care about us. It’s been amazing.”
Hood says that during the funeral Friday, local firefighters will remain on duty to respond to calls, though fire trucks will be staffed with fewer people so colleagues can attend Deem’s service. At the site of the fire and at Public Safety Headquarter citizens have created memorials to Deem, decorating them with flowers, balloons and flags.
Injured firefighter Brad Phipps is in critical condition, but stable at this time.