Houston fire: 4 firefighters killed, 5 injured while battling blaze

Four firefighters were killed and five were injured when a five-alarm fire broke out at a Houston restaurant Friday afternoon.

The firefighters were searching for people they thought might be trapped in a blaze when the structure began to collapse on them, Associated Press reported.

It is the Houston Fire Department's deadliest fire in its 118-year history.

"I can confirm four firefighters have passed away, and we cannot release their names at this juncture," said Houston Fire Department Chief Terry Garrison, who was meeting with families of those who died.

The dead were identified by the department on Saturday as: Capt. Matthew Renaud, 35; Robert Bebee, 41; Robert Garner, 29; and probationary firefighter Anne Sullivan, 24, who had just graduated from the Houston Fire Department Academy in April.

Two of the surviving injured firefighters are hospitalized in critical condition and four of the injured have chest pains or leg injuries. A roof collapsing caused some of the injuries.

The fire began at the Bhojan Restaurant around 12:09 p.m. local time and swallowed up the adjacent Southwest Inn, which sits along the Southwest Freeway. A sports bar and disco were also burned.

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Southwest Inn front desk clerk Martha Lopez said a restaurant employee ran into the hotel saying a fire had started in the restaurant. They both started knocking on doors and windows to warn guests to get out of the hotel.

Lopez said the hotel can accommodate 100 guests at a time, but 45 were registered at the time of the fire.

The cause of the fire has not yet been released, but temperatures in the low 90s and high humidity made fighting the fire more difficult.

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