Four firefighters have died and five more were injured following a five-alarm fire at a southwest Houston motel and restaurant.
Firefighters with the Houston Fire Department arrived after 12 p.m. Friday to the Bhojan Vegetarian Restaurant and Southwest Inn on the Southwest Freeway (U.S. Highway 59) northbound frontage road near Hornwood Drive.
The fire, which was upgraded from 3 alarms to 4 alarms and then to 5 alarms after 1 p.m., left a significant amount of damage to the large building.
The Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences confirmed the deaths of the firefighters late on Friday afternoon.
Bhojan Vegetarian Restaurant issued the following statement on its Facebook page on Friday afternoon:
We have an active fire, all of our bhojan staff and customers for the day are safe!! Houston fire department is on the scene. We are close until further notice. Harenbhai, Nish, Pratima Mathuria are safe. Please stand by for future updates.
The Southwest Inn was built in 1966, according to a listing on the Harris County Appraisal District webiste, and was originally named RoadRunner Inn. The building contained 110 units.
The 100 Club, a Houston-based non-profit organization that supports the dependents of firefighters and law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty, announced on Friday afternoon that it will provide financial assistance for the families of the four Houston firefighters who died.
A $20,000 check will be presented to the surviving spouses of the firefighters to help their family's immediate monetary needs. Additional financial support for the families will be made after an assessment of each family's needs is made. On average, the 100 Club's financial support is approximately $300,000 per tragedy.
Donations are being accepted to The 100 Club Survivors Fund, which provides benefits to the dependents of Firefighters and Law Enforcement Officers who lose their life in the line of duty.