Motorola Sued in Deadly HFD Incident

New evidence is coming forth in a lawsuit filed against Motorola by the families of four Houston firefighters killed in a Memorial Day 2013 fire at Southwest Inn along US 59 at Hillcroft.

The 2016 lawsuit claims faulty Motorola radios delayed rescue efforts for the trapped firefighters for 18 minutes.  The attorney for the families released a pathologist's report Thursday that supports their claim.

Dr. Michael Baden's report states the firefighters who died in the fire died from suffocation. His report also claims the firefighters could have been successfully revived seven minutes after they lost breathable air.  

The lawsuit on behalf of the families of Robert Bebee, Robert Garner, Matthew Renaud and Anne Sullivan seeks punitive damages. Robert Yarborough, who survived the fire but suffered serious injuries, also joined the suit.

HFD Captain Bill Dowling was also critically injured in the fire and later died of his injuries.

Motorola released a statement in 2016 reading:  “We want to reiterate our sympathy toward victims of the May 2013 tragedy and remind that an independent report after the fire listed numerous potential contributing factors. Since the fire, Motorola Solutions has worked closely with the Houston Fire Department to improve training and understanding of operational capabilities, as well as to provide system enhancements.  We stand behind our equipment and support our Houston customer.”

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