ARLINGTON (CBSDFW.COM) – The survivors of a deadly weekend apartment fire gathered late Wednesday night to remember the two who died.
The fire likely started in a breezeway of one of the units at the Tanglewood Apartments in the 2000 block of East Abrams on July 2, officials said.
The fire rapidly spread to both ends of the building so quickly that the first firefighters on scene immediately decided there was no way anyone on the entire second floor could have survived.
“People was running, jumping off the building – and everything,” Bill Turpin, a neighbor who watched the fire break out, said the day after the fire.
Officials said it was a $369,000 loss, including everything inside the 15 destroyed apartments.
With the small flame of a candle, dozens of neighbors, friends and family remembered a young woman and a young girl who couldn’t escape the flames that destroyed their homes.
“I just feel like she was given to me as a special blessing and taken because God needed her worse than I did,” said Joyce Joyner, the girl’s mother.
She was at work when her daughter, Erica, called her during the fire.
“I said, ‘Sis, what is it? What’s going on?’ She said, ‘help me Mommy,’ and then her phone died,” Joyner said.
The girl never made it out, and neither did Kim Moore, who most residents knew because of her cleaning job at the complex.
“I’m going to miss her,” I’m going to always miss her and I’m going to love her, forever,” a resident said during the memorial service.
Emergency calls to 911 released Wednesday reveal firefighters had a hard time figuring out just how big the fire was and how many units were aflame.
“What’s on fire?” an operator asked.
“I heard somebody screaming,” the caller said. “Oh my God.”
“I can’t understand you, ma’am,” the operator replied. “What’s on fire?”
Firefighters were on scene in five minutes, but said the blaze had a head start well before anyone called 911. It was too dangerous to even try a rescue, reports say, even though they knew two people were trapped inside.
Investigators are still figuring out how the fire started.
A fund has been started for the family of young Erica Joyner in her name at Frost Bank locations throughout North Texas.