SAN ANTONIO – Following are facts provided by the San Antonio Fire Department about Thursday night's fire at Ingram Square shopping center that claimed the life of firefighter Scott Deem and injured firefighters Robert Vasquez and Brad Phipps:
The San Antonio Fire Department was dispatched at 9:10 p.m. Thursday to the Ingram Square shopping center in the 6700 block of Ingram Road for a structure fire at a strip mall.
Ingram Park Square is a 86,289 square-foot retail building constructed in 1981.
Ladder 35 arrived on the scene, reported heavy smoke coming from the structure and requested a second alarm.
Ladder 35 and Engine 35 entered the structure to attack the fire and perform a primary search for potential victims.
Just after reporting heavy smoke and high heat conditions, the Battalion Chief in command ordered all fire personnel out of the structure. An emergency evacuation tone was sounded.
Approximately 20 minutes into the incident, one of the firefighters from Ladder 35 sounded a Mayday call. Immediately, a third alarm, per the SAFD "Mayday" policy was dispatched. It was determined shortly that two of the firefighters from Ladder 35 were unaccounted for. The Special Operations Battalion Chief was assigned to Rapid Intervention Team group to focus on the search and rescue of the two missing firefighters.
Approximately 26 minutes into the incident, one of the missing firefighters (Brad Phipps) was located and brought outside the structure by the Rapid Intervention Team and was immediately transported to San Antonio Military Medical Center.
Fire crews continued to search the structure to find the second missing firefighter as smoke and heat conditions worsened by the minute.
Approximately 39 minutes into the fire, the missing firefighter's emergency signal was activated. It was identified as Ladder 35, Firefighter 2.
Approximately 48 min into the incident, a downed firefighter, (Robert Vasquez), was brought out of the structure. It was determined Vasquez was one of the rescuers attempting to locate the missing firefighter. He was transported to University Hospital.
After multiple attempts by the Rapid Intervention Team to locate the missing firefighter, it was decided that the fire conditions within the structure were too dangerous to continue search operations. All rescue operations ceased. Firefighting operations focused on efforts to prevent the spread of fire to adjoining structures.
At 11:34 p.m., Command was informed that the missing firefighter, (Scott Deem), could be seen from outside the structure.
Deem was removed from the structure surrounded by his fellow firefighters. He was transferred to an awaiting Medic unit and was escorted by the San Antonio Police Department to the Bexar County Medical Examiner's Office.
The investigation is ongoing and being led by the SAFD Arson Division with assistance from the ATF and continue at the scene.
About the firefighters:
Firefighter Robert Vasquez entered SAFD on Dec. 23, 2006. He is assigned to AP11 "A" Shift on the Technical Rescue Team. Robert suffered non-life threatening injuries and has been discharged and is at home and recovering.
Firefighter Brad Phipps entered SAFD on April 18, 2006. He is assigned to Engine 35 "C" Shift. Brad sustained serious burn injuries and is in critical but stable condition.
Firefighter Scott Deem (pictured, above) entered SAFD on Jan. 3, 2011, and was assigned to Ladder 35 "A" Shift.
He was 31 years old. Deem had been with SAFD for six years.
He leaves behind his wife, Jennifer, a 7-year-old son, Tyler, a 13-year-old daughter, Dakota. Deem and his wife were expecting a baby. He graduated from Southwest High School in 2004. Deem entered the SAFD Academy in 2011.
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