Fallen Central Texas Firefighter Laid To Rest

MARLIN (February 21, 2013)—A long, sad procession of firefighters from around the country, law enforcement officers and mourners escorted by motorcycle officers arrived Wednesday afternoon in Marlin where veteran firefighter Eric Wallace 36, was laid to rest.

Wallace was killed when he and three other firefighters were trapped inside a Knights of Columbus Hall in Bryan as a portion of the roof collapsed after the building caught on fire late Friday night.

One of the injured firefighters, Lt. Greg Pickard, 54, died Saturday afternoon in a Galveston hospital.

A funeral service for Wallace was held at 10 a.m. Thursday at the First Baptist Church of Bryan, after which his body was taken to Marlin for burial in Hillcrest Cemetery.

Wallace was a former member of the Marlin Volunteer Fire Department and flags were lowered to half-staff in his honor Sunday at the courthouse.

Wallace leaves a wife and five children behind.

His wife Brandie said at a vigil Sunday night that her husband was her hero.

"I'm honored to have loved the most wonderful man in my life. I will love and miss him daily," she said.

Wallace was a nearly 13-year veteran of the department.

In 2010, the nonprofit 100 Club honored him for bravery.

He was off-duty, driving home from a shift in 2009 when he saw a house on fire.

When he found out the homeowner was still inside, he ran into the burning building.

The homeowner was too weak to get out on his own, but Wallace pulled him to safety.

The 100 Club was providing assistance to the families of both of the fallen firefighters and media outlets in the Bryan-College Station area have created a fund for the families as well.

Pickard had been with the Bryan Fire Department for 32 years and was the father of two and grandfather of three.

One of his children is a College Station firefighter.

A funeral service for Pickard will be at 10 a.m. Friday at Central Baptist Church at 1991 FM 158 in College Station with burial at College Station Memorial Cemetery at 3800 Raymond Stotzer Pkwy.

Visitation will be from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday at Hillier Funeral Home in Bryan.

The two injured firefighters remain in the hospital.

Ricky Mantey, Jr., 30, and Mitch Moran, 21, were taken to St. Joseph Hospital in Bryan, and then were flown to the hospital in Galveston by helicopter for treatment of burns.

A faulty power cord on a fan in the kitchen sparked the fire that broke out late Friday night at the Knights of Columbus Hall in the 1500 block of Groesbeck Drive near downtown Bryan.

Lt. Eric Wallace (left) and Lt. Greg Pickard (City of Bryan photos)
Mitch Moran (left) and Ricky Mantey, Jr. (City of Bryan photos)
A vigil was held Sunday night in Marlin.
The fire broke out late Friday night. (KBTX-TV)