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Texas Digest: 2 die, 1 hurt in Houston boarding home fire


HOUSTON

2 die, 1 hurt in boarding home fire

Two people are dead and a third person injured in a fire at a Houston boarding home that a fire official described as a “maze” to navigate.

Firefighters encountered heavy smoke when they arrived early Thursday morning at the home, which is part of a dilapidated plaza south of downtown.

Authorities say the bodies of the two people were found near the front door. The condition of the injured person wasn’t released.

Deputy fire Chief Fernando Herrera told KPRC-TV the facility had about 20 different living areas for residents, creating some difficulty for firefighters as they conducted a search.

It’s not clear how many people were living there but authorities say 12 people were able to escape before firefighters arrived.

Investigators have not revealed the cause of the fire.

EL PASO

Mexico investigates inmate hanging in Texas jail

Mexican consular officials are investigating the hanging death of a West Texas jail inmate arrested for crossing the border illegally.

The El Paso Times reported that Norberto Santa Cruz died Saturday after he was found hanging in the El Paso County Jail. Mexican Consul General Marcos Bucio of El Paso said Mexico’s government is pressing for information on what might have pushed the 42-year-old Juarez, Mexico, man to take his own life.

The U.S. Border Patrol said in a statement that Santa Cruz was arrested for trespassing in an El Paso rail yard and admitted to having entered the United States illegally by hopping a freight car. He was found hanged in his jail cell March 4 and was hospitalized. He was removed from life support Saturday.

HARRIS COUNTY

5 firefighters fired for hazing rookie

A Houston-area fire chief has fired five firefighters and suspended another after video surfaced of them hazing a rookie colleague who had been strapped to a backboard.

Stephen Whitehead, fire chief of the Westfield department in northern Harris County, said the video was brought to his attention Monday.

It appears to show water at one point being poured over the rookie firefighter, similar to waterboarding. At other times he’s doused with food as others yell at him.

Whitehead said the victim of the hazing didn’t want to file a complaint. The incident occurred at the department’s central fire station.

Whitehead condemned the hazing, calling it dangerous and a “blight on our profession.”



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