At approximately 2320hrs, a passerby reported a structure fire in a Knights of Columbus Hall on Groesbeck Street in Bryan. The hall was not occupied at the time of the fire discovery.
Bryan firefighters responded and initiated interior firefighting operations. Lieutenant Wallace and his crew were the first to arrive on the scene and entered the structure for search and rescue.
From the Texas State Fire Marshal’s preliminary summary of the fire:
Lieutenant Pickard and Lieutenant Wallace responded to the report of a structure fire at the Knights of Columbus hall located in Bryan, Texas. During interior operations, Lieutenant Wallace became separated from his crew and radioed for help.
Lieutenant Pickard and two other firefighters, who were assigned to the Rapid Intervention Team, attempted the rescue of Lieutenant Wallace. The fire progressed to flashover conditions and the fire enveloped the firefighters, causing fatal injuries to Lieutenant Wallace and Lieutenant Pickard, and near fatal injuries to the two other firefighters working in the structure.
Autopsy examinations conducted at separate facilities revealed Lieutenant Wallace died from conflagration injuries and Lieutenant Pickard died from thermal injuries and smoke inhalation.
Lieutenant Pickard was posthumously given the Ray Downey Courage and Valor Award at the Fire Department Instructors Conference in 2014