HOUSTON –– Fire crews from both Dallas and Fort Worth filled dozens of Houston-area fire stations on Wednesday so local firefighters could attend a memorial service for the three men and one woman killed last week in a deadly apartment fire.
Capt. Danny Windle was holed up at Station 51, which lost two men in the fire.
"It is emotional to see all of the public support here and we know what they're going through," said Windle, referencing two Dallas-area firefighters who have died in recent weeks. One, Stanley Wilson, died last month in a 6-alarm condominium fire. The other, Capt. Kenny Harris, was killed in the West explosion on April 17.
Close to 160 Dallas men and women volunteered for the duty, which included responding to calls from the Houston houses and handling a constant flow of strangers who stopped by to pay their respects.
Station 68 in Houston, which also lost two firefighters, was a similar scene as flowers, letters of support and donated food filled the station.
Killed in the fire when the motel structure collapsed were Capt. Matthew Renaud, 35, who had been with the department for 11½ years; engineer operator Robert Bebee, 41, who joined the department almost 12 years ago; firefighter Robert Garner, 29, who joined the department 2½ years ago; and Anne Sullivan, 24, a probationary firefighter who had graduated in April from the Houston Fire Department Academy.
Lt. Diane Swaner, also from Dallas, stopped by to help out.
"It is really the least we could do," she said.
Close to 60 Fort Worth firefighters were also staged at Houston stations, although not in the Bellaire area, which is closest to the motel fire.
Crews were expected to remain in Houston until nightfall when the hometown crews could return to man their operations.
The majority of the city's 4,000-person department was expected to attend the memorial service at Reliant Stadium. Fire engines from Dallas and New Orleans and other cities joined a procession leading to the stadium.
The Associated Press contributed to this report