SAN ANTONIO - Recovery efforts continue almost a month after a deadly fire at Ingram Square Shopping Center took the life of firefighter Scott Deem and left firefighter Brad Phipps in critical condition. The San Antonio Fire Department is now using the tragedy as a learning opportunity.
Parts of the building where the fire ripped through are now cleaned up and have been transformed into a walking exhibit where SAFD Chief Charles Hood said thousands of firefighters will get a chance to walk through.
"Any time you have a line of duty death from a fire service around the country, it's an opportunity to honor that firefighter by sharing information with other fire departments around the country on this loss of life," Chief Hood said.
Through the month of June, the department will take more than 2,000 local and regional firefighters, medics, dispatchers, and fire prevention staff inside of the Spartan Gym, where the fire is believed to have started, to learn more about the details of that fateful night.
"They are walking through the gym," Chief Hood said. "They're seeing several areas where different things happened in the fire."
In each area, the chief said that there will be pictures up that represent what the gym looked like before the fire and afterward. They'll see debris, caved-in ceilings, and gym equipment soaked in water.
"This is a place that will provide closure for the members of this organization," Chief Hood said.
The department is still working to figure out the exact cause of firefighter Scott Deem's death. Chief Hood also said that firefighter Brad Phipps is still in critical condition and set to undergo surgery.
The department has until the end of the month to conduct their tours inside the building. As for the investigation, Chief Hood said that it can take as long as a year to complete because several different agencies across the country are assisting.
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