Houston Firefighters Honored at Reliant Stadium Memorial
Photo by Dianna Wray
Fire trucks from across Texas rumbled through the streets of Houston before dawn to be a part of a procession that would lead into Reliant Stadium. The trucks filled the front stadium parking lot, silent with lights flashing as they moved into the stadium parking lot an hour before the memorial service started.
Cari Henry held her son Kason, 6, on her left hip and held her son Kael's hand with her right hand as they watched the trucks roll in. It was about 9 a.m., but the sun was already beating down, beading their faces with sweat. Henry's husband used to be a firefighter. She pointed at the different firetrucks as the motored by before going to find a seat in the stadium for the memorial. Firefighters were seated on the floor before a stage surrounded by floral arrangements surrounding four firefighter jackets that were propped, the last names of each victim printed across the back.
At 10 a.m. Wednesday morning, Reliant Stadium was silent, aside from squeaking chairs and the steady drone of the air conditioning, as the families of the four Houston Fire Department firefighters -- EMT Capt. Matthew Renaud, 35, Engineer Operator EMT Robert Bebee, 41, Firefighter EMT Robert Garner, 29, and Probationary Firefighter Anne Sullivan, 24, who died battling the blaze at the Southwest Inn when the roof collapsed, last Friday -- made the long trek from the back of the stadium, down the aisle to the front rows for the public memorial.
Firefighters from across Texas, across the country and across the continent came to town for the public memorial service, Houston Fire Department Chief Terry Garrison said on Wednesday morning. Some were at the service and some crews volunteered to take charge of the stations so Houston firefighters could attend.