SAFD: Scott Deem fatal fire investigation slow process, firefighters still tour

It's been more than a month since San Antonio firefighter Scott Deem was killed in a shopping center fire. We found out fire investigators are making progress but the investigation is still incomplete.

SAN ANTONIO - There are no shortcuts to finding out the cause of the fire that killed San Antonio Firefighter Scott Deem. SAFD said the process is lengthy.

"We don't have a realistic timetable for completion as of yet,"  SAFD Public Information Officer Joe Arrington said. "But when they involve the death of a firefighter they (the investigation) can take quite a while."

Arrington said some investigations have taken up to a year.

Deem was killed in strip mall fire on May 18. He was in one of the companies responding to the 6700 block of Ingram Road for a blaze that became too much to handle. 

The 31-year-old could not be rescued from the fire as he checked for civilians who might be in the building.

SAFD's Robert Vasquez was injured in the fire and was released from the hospital following the fire. Firefighter Brad Phipps was critically injured from the burns he sustained in the fire after being saved from the deadly blaze. He is still trying to overcome his burns.

Arrington said the site of the fire has been released back to its owner and fire investigators are no longer at the scene.

"The owner was kind enough to let us continue to occupy it to facilitate tours before it is demolished," Arrington said.

Chief Charles Hood wanted his firefighters to tour the fatal fire site to learn from the tragedy. The tours have been open to other fire departments who agreed not to speak publicly about what they saw.

"A safe estimate of SAFD personnel (sworn and civilian) that have been through is 1600-1700," Arrington said.

He said nearly all neighboring fire departments have been through the tour. Arrington said a handful of firefighters from the Houston Fire Department have also walked through the scene.

© 2017 KENS-TV


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