HOUSTON (FOX 26) - A lawsuit has been filed against Motorola on behalf of the three firefighters who died and one who was severely injured while battling the Southwest Inn Fire in 2013.
Attorney Ben Hall says firefighters Robert Bebee, Anne Sullivan and Robert Garner may still be alive and he says Robert Yarbrough would not have been severely injured if not for what he calls “dangerous” Motorola radios.
The City of Houston had just recently purchased the communication devices and the firefighters had only used them about a month when the massive fire broke out in May of 2013. The fire burned for about three hours before it was even reported.
The lawsuit is alleging the radios hampered the firefighters communication and are “defective”.
"The one defect is that when under heat, the sheething around the wires would melt and cause them to short out so that they couldn't communicate," says attorney Ben Hall.
"For those reasons I've said that it was unreliable and it contributed to the deaths and injuries of these firefighters. Hopefully the product of this litigation will be improved communication system. The city paid 140 million dollars for this system and we think it's defective."
The lawsuit is seeking at least one million dollars for each family.
Motorola released the following statement:
”Motorola Solutions has not received notification of a new lawsuit related to the Southwest Inn fire. 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".