Texas Deputy Dies Helping People Flee Devastating Wildfires

by Amanda Glover
(Photo by RODGER BOSCH / AFP) (Photo by RODGER BOSCH/AFP via Getty Images)

Tragically, a Texas deputy was killed while helping people escape the frightening wildfires that are threatening a large swath of the state. According to authorities, Eastland County Deputy Barbara Fenley died while helping rescue people from the Eastland Complex on Thursday night. Eastland County Today shared that as the fire spread to Carbon, Fenley traveled door to door to evacuate residents.

At a Glance

  • Texas deputy Barbara Fenley died while going door-to-door to evacuate people as wildfires raged.
  • Texas Governor Greg Abbott said Fenley will be officially honored at a later date.
  • Firefighters continue to work to extinguish the fires.

Firefighters continue to work hard to contain the flames as it has grown to over 45,000 acres in Eastland County and several surrounding counties in central West Texas.

51-year-old Fenley worked as a deputy with the sheriff’s office since 2013. Previously, she served as the chief of police in Gorman, Texas. She is survived by her husband and three children.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott commemorated the loss of Fenley at the top of a press briefing on the wildfires Friday evening at the Eastland Fire Department. He also shared the announcement of the lowering of flags to half-staff in Eastland in honor of Fenley.

“We are sorrowful for her loss of life,” said Abbott. “But as a state, we have great appreciation for her service, for stepping up, for doing what Texas law enforcement officials do every single day. They put their lives on the line to preserve and to protect their communities. And that’s exactly what she did.”

In an emotional interview with Dallas ABC affiliate WFAA, Fenley’s son Jon claims his mother “paid the ultimate sacrifice” to keep people safe.

Wildfires Continue to Rage After Texas Deputy Dies

As several people mourn the loss of Texas deputy, the state continues to fight off the raging wildfires. A screengrab from a recent video shows fires so strong that they’ve turned the sky a bright sunset yellow.

According to Eastland County Judge Rex Fields, they haven’t found anyone else who is missing. They also said that first responders will do a “more intensive sweep” with canines in the town. As of Friday night, four wildfires that ignited Wednesday and Thursday burned 5,383 acres and was 15% contained. Thankfully, dry, windy conditions helped fuel the complex and curb the air response to fight the complex. This was 13,000 acres by Thursday evening.

“One message that I would like to exaggerate and express is that we are not out of danger yet for our high hazard fire risk,” Eastland County Fire Chief Joe Williamson said during Friday’s briefing.

According to Abbott, the wildfires have destroyed at least 50 homes in Eastland, Brown, and Comanche counties. However, he concluded that as they continue surveilling the damages, they’ll likely find more demolished homes.