It's been a rough two weeks for the Houston Fire Department.
Two firefighters died Easter morning inside a burning house, trying to rescue a married couple that wasn't there, and on March 30, two fire trucks collided in Montrose while responding to fire that didn't exist, injuring nine firefighters and a 29-year-old pedestrian who died on Saturday.
"We'll always look to get better," Rick Flanagan, a spokesman for the department, told Hair Balls. "We respond to provide service and protect people but sometimes we become part of the situation."
The firefighters that died Sunday were 50-year-old James Harlow, a 30-year veteran of the department, and Damien Hobbs, a 29-year-old rookie firefighter who served in Iraq during 2006 and 2007.
Yesterday, several Harlow family members spoke at a press conference, flanked by HFD members.
Jimmy, Jr., Harlow's 26-year-old son, said his dad never talked to his family about the dangers of the job.
"He was a mechanic, a tinkerer, he loved to hunt," Jimmy Harlow said.
"I think he raised me to be a good man because of his career."
Flanagan said he thinks investigators can determine how Sunday's deaths, along with the truck crash might have been prevented.
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"The reports will spell out wherever we can have gains," Flanagan said. "The largest room in the world is room for improvement."
Flanagan entered the fire academy a month before Harlow during the summer of 1979 and once worked at the same station.
"That pain will always be with you," Flanagan said.
(Editor's Note: Those wishing to assist the families of the fallen firefighters may make donations to:
The Last Alarm Club, www.lastalarmclub.org or 713-223-9166
The 100 Club, www.the100club.com or 713-952-0100.)