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2 Texas firefighters stable after deadly blaze

BRYAN, Texas — Doctors are optimistic that two Texas firefighters hospitalized Sunday will recover from serious burns suffered in a blaze that killed two colleagues, their chief said.

Fire Chief Randy McGregor thanked everyone for their prayers for the families of the firefighters who died and for the men who were injured in the blaze that erupted Friday night at an unoccupied Knights of Columbus Hall.

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Mourners left bouquets of flowers at the burned-out structure. A prayer service was planned Sunday night at Bryan High School.

An inquiry into what caused the overnight fire that on Saturday claimed the lives of Lieutenant Eric Wallace, 36, and Lieutenant Gregory Pickard, 54, could take months, according to McGregor. He declined to speculate on what sparked the fire.

‘‘State fire marshal’s office is doing the investigation,’’ said Mary Lynne Stratta, a city spokeswoman. ‘‘Could take up to six months for their report and ruling to come out.’’

Firefighters Ricky Mantey Jr., 30, and Mitchel Moran, 21, were in serious but stable condition Sunday at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, Stratta said. McGregor did not detail their injuries.

Funeral arrangements are pending for Pickard. Wallace’s funeral will be Thursday morning at First Baptist Church in Bryan, about 90 miles northwest of Houston.

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