DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Nearly 24 hours later, Dallas firefighters remain on scene where a fire destroyed a Preston Hollow condominium complex and left many nearby worrying they could be next.
Having to monitor hot spots is one thing, but firefighters say some of the debris piles they’ve found are so bad they burst into flames as soon as they get a little oxygen.
That’s why firefighters will remain on site throughout Saturday night and into Sunday morning.
From 22 floors up in the adjacent Preston Tower, Liza Salzmann had a bird’s eye view of her neighbors’ destruction.
“We’ve been watching ceilings collapse and walls collapse, and we can hear glass breaking and windows burst out,” Salzmann said from her balcony.
Firefighters rescued residents who couldn’t make it out on their own as 60 units in the four-story Preston Place condominiums left about a hundred people displaced.
The fire burned throughout the night leaving crews the next day with a lot of work left to do as hot spots reignited.
Flying embers made many in neighboring buildings worry they could be next.
“They were flying over the whole time. You could hear them and see them landing on top of the car port. You could see them flying over the building, definitely a little too close for comfort,” neighbor Shaunach Talley said.
Lorrie Smith lives behind Preston Place and brought evacuees into her own home as theirs burned.
“They were coming out in their nightgowns, no shoes, no socks, so we brought them in and gave them water and gave them some snacks and just tried to keep them comfortable ’cause it was a cold evening,” Smith said.
Despite early reports that no one was missing, firefighters later learned that 89-year-old Jacqueline McDonald was unaccounted for.
A search continues with the hope she may have escaped the building, but collapsing walls have limited the possibility of rescue efforts inside.
“I think it is a good wakeup call to really look and see what we can do for our community for fire protection, and you just don’t think it’s going to happen to you,” Smith said.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation, and it isn’t clear whether smoke detectors were working.
The Red Cross has helped about 20 families, but they know many of the survivors simply left to stay with loved ones.
Case workers will be back out Sunday to offer help to those in need.