One firefighter was killed and two others were injured in a six-alarm blaze that destroyed at least 24 units at the Hearthwood North Condominiums at 12363 Abrams Road, near LBJ Freeway overnight.
Dallas Fire-Rescue spokesman Jason Evans says the firefighter, who has been identified as 28-year department veteran Stanley Wilson, radioed in shortly before 5:30 a.m. that he was trapped and lost, at which point his radio went dead. It’s believed he became trapped when one of the floors collapsed. Almost three hours later his body was recovered from the wreckage.
The body was draped in an American flag as it was removed from the wreckage. Firefighters lined the path from the wreckage and saluted as Wilson was carried into an ambulance to be taken to the medical examiner’s office.
Wilson, 51, is survived by his wife and two sons. Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings said Wilson was a 1980 graduate from Lake Highlands High School, a few miles away from the condo complex where he died.
“He’s a hero,” Rawlings said, “and as I told his boys, they should be very proud.”
We knew him. Or rather, my wife Julie did. Stan was a volunteer coach at the Lakewood Presbyterian School, the small, beloved neighborhood school where our two boys attended kindergarten. Stan coached Matthew, our oldest. Matthew was a special-needs kid, but we didn’t officially know that then. We just knew that he was having a desperate time of it with his motor skills. P.E. was the hardest thing for him.
“We would all would stay every Wednesday after school and eat lunch on the playground,” Julie remembers. “On Wednesday, if he was off from work, it would be all the moms, and Stan.”
“He was not just joyful, he was gleeful. He always looked like he was having a blast,” she continued. “He never got impatient with me. He could tell that I had my back against the wall, trying to figure out how to help my son, and that I could go no further. He was just like, ‘I love these people, and I’m going to keep on loving them.’ And his wife, Jenny — she just glowed. Such wonderful, wonderful people.”
This has weighed heavily on Julie’s mind since the terrible news came across Facebook. Out of the blue tonight, she said, “I bet his underwear is still on the floor where he left it last night. And now he’s gone. Poof, just like that.” Her voice trailed off.
It was a hard day for a lot of people in Dallas who loved that fallen firefighter, and even for people who left a piece of their heart in Dallas, in that sweet little school, and within its community, when they moved away. Pray for the Wilson family.