Texas Firefighter Killed, Four Injured Battling House Fire

BAYTOWN, TX -- A Baytown firefighter was killed and four others suffered second-degree burns while battling a two-alarm house fire on Burning Tree Monday afternoon.

The fallen firefighter, Nito Guajardo, 24, had been with the department for about a year and was stationed at Fire Station No. 1 on Garth Road.

Neighbors reported seeing smoke at the house at 4803 Burning Tree Drive in the Country Club Oaks subdivision at 3:11 p.m. Fire engines arrived at 3:15 p.m.

The one-story home was engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived.

Eight firefighters entered the building under the assumption the house was occupied.

Firefighters in the house simultaneously decided the fire was too hot to continue an interior attack and reported one firefighter missing at 3:25 p.m., "all in the same breath," said Lt. Howard Gudgell, an investigator with the fire marshal's office.

"When they came out, he wasn't there," he said.

Firefighters continued to battle the blaze outside the house. They discovered Guajardo lying near the front door at 3:44 p.m., while the fire was still burning. Paramedics performed CPR on him on the front lawn, but could not save his life. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Guajardo's death is the first for the Baytown Fire Department in nearly 30 years.

Four others were injured in the blaze. Three were treated at San Jacinto Methodist Hospital, and one was treated at the scene. Three were from Station No. 1 and one was from Station No. 2 on Market Street, Gudgell said.

No one was inside the house when the fire broke out.

The causes of both the fire and the increase in the flames