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Sheriff’s deputy dies in Dallas area wildfires

March 23, 2022 - 00:00
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  • Sheriff’s deputy dies in Dallas area wildfires

An Eastland County sheriff’s deputy died Thursday as wildfires swept through several small Texas communities west of Dallas, destroying at least 50 homes and charring more than 54,000 acres as of Sunday.

Deputy Sgt. Barbara Fenley died while going door to door warning people to flee, according to the Austin American-Statesman.

Sgt. Fenley ran off a smoke-covered road and was engulfed in the fire, the sheriff said.

Several wildfires merged to form what is now known as the Eastland Complex fire. The blaze started last Thursday afternoon and in less than three hours destroyed 86 houses in Carbon, a town of just 272 residents in Eastland County, about 120 miles west of Dallas.

Gov. Greg Abbott issued a disaster declaration for 11 counties in response to the wildfires.

“I commend the hard work and selfless acts of thousands of first responders and firefighters who are risking their own lives to protect our communities,” Abbott said. “I also ask Texans to join me in praying for those who have been affected by these wildfires, including Eastland County Deputy Barbara Fenley, who was tragically killed while trying to save lives.”

Gary Borders is a veteran award-winning Texas journalist. He published a number of community newspapers in Texas during a 30-year span, including in Longview, Fort Stockton, Nacogdoches and Cedar Park. Email: