Fire Department Deals With A Tough Two Weeks

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.

"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

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