One San Antonio firefighter was killed and two others were injured Thursday night while fighting a massive blaze at a shopping center on the city's northwest side.
San Antonio Fire Department Chief Charles Hood confirmed the death of Scott Deem, a six-year veteran of the department.
"This is very difficult because the fire was so intense. We started having structural collapses, and we had to go defensive," he said. "(It was a) very rough decision to leave a firefighter behind. That's not what we do, but we had the risk of losing an additional 15 to 20 firefighters if we did not go defensive on this fire."
Hood said two other firefighters were transported to area hospitals. One was a priority one transport, while the other was a priority two. Their conditions have not been released by the hospitals, but Hood said both were expected to be OK.
The fire broke out at the Ingram Park shopping center in the 6800 block of Northwest Loop 410 just past 9 p.m. Thursday.
More than 60 fire units responded to the blaze, which quickly damaged multiple units within the shopping center.
Hood said firefighters had entered the structure to perform search and rescue because there was concern at the time of evening that there could be people inside. However, conditions inside the building rapidly changed and may have prevented Deem from escaping.
"We had firefighters who fought fire desperately tonight to try to save their friend's life," he said.
Firefighters formed two columns and saluted as an ambulance departed the scene just after midnight Friday morning.
Fighting back tears, the chief asked San Antonio to lift up the SAFD community.
"I'd like to ask the citizens of San Antonio to give us your prayers tonight, because we're hurting. But we're gonna continue to do the good job we always do," he said.
© 2017 KENS-TV