Robert Ryan Bebee

Houston Fire Department units were dispatched to a report of a fire in a motel. Captain Renaud and Engineer Operator Bebee were on the first engine to arrive at the scene. Firefighters found a working fire with heavy smoke showing and advanced a 2-1/2 inch handline into the structure. Firefighters opened the ceiling as they advanced and found fire in the space above. Firefighters were ordered to withdraw from the structure while a water supply was secured.

Once a water supply was established, firefighters advanced into the structure. Firefighters Garner and Sullivan, from the second engine to arrive on-scene, backed up other firefighters. As firefighters advanced, a structural collapse occurred and trapped a number of firefighters. Four firefighters were killed as a result of the collapse and over a dozen were injured, including a Captain received severe injuries.

Autopsy examinations revealed the firefighters died from thermal injuries, smoke inhalation, and compressional asphyxia.

The Texas State Fire Marshal’s Office has prepared a comprehensive report on this incident. The report is available at

Incident Location: 6855 Southwest Fwy, Houston, TX 77074 USNG: 15R TN 5780 8940

Department Information

Houston Fire Department
600 Jefferson, 7th FL
USNG: 15R TN 7054 9373
Houston, Texas 77002

Chief: Terry Garrison

View NIOSH Report »

Robert Ryan Bebee was honored on the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial in Emmitsburg, Maryland and was included in the USFA’s annual report Firefighter Fatalities in the United States.
Age: 41 
Rank: Engineer Operator EMT 
Classification: Career 
Incident date: May 31, 2013 12:07
Date of death: May 31, 2013 
Cause of death: Caught or Trapped 
Nature of death: Asphyxiation 
Activity type: Advance Hose Lines/Fire Attack (includes Wildland) 
Emergency duty: Yes
Duty type: On-Scene Fire 
Fixed property use: Residential