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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The Dallas County Medical Examiner’s office has identified the three victims who died on Thursday in a downtown Dallas high-rise fire. The men were working as sub-contractors in the equipment room at Thanksgiving Tower.
The victims are Leroy Carrillo, Luis Carrillo and Oscar Esparza-Romo. They were all workers for Best Mechanical, and were missing for several hours before authorities discovered their bodies.
The men were working on a part of the building’s heating and cooling system. That work was being performed in a tank that is located 35 feet below the equipment room. They were inside of the tank when the fire started. The men did have safety equipment and an evacuation procedure, but it is not yet known why they could not escape.
Visibility and heat made it difficult for firefighters to reach the victims, even hours after the situation had calmed down.
Family members of the three men gathered with firefighters in front of the tower on Thursday. “Our heartfelt sympathy goes with these families, especially at this time of year,” said Cheri Torres with Best Mechanical. “As we know more, of course, we’ll reach out to those families, but it was just a very, very tragic accident.”
Many other people were able to get out of the building — about 2,800 people were evacuated from Thanksgiving Tower after reports of the Thursday fire, flooding the building’s stairwells and pouring into the streets. Some people even said that they walked down 50 floors.
It was the first time that the entire building had been evacuated in more than 30 years. Workers said that they do have regular fire drills, however.
“There was heavy smoke,” said evacuated attorney Scott Hayes. “I saw about 10 or 15 construction workers who I think had come down the storage elevator, or up the storage elevator, and they were moving very quickly.”
Thanksgiving Tower is open again on Friday, though it is certainly a tough day for the hundreds of people heading back to work at the downtown Dallas skyscraper. “It’s sad,” said Bruce Abernathy. “I park downstairs with a motorcycle, so I probably talked to them at one time or another. I hate to have the loss of any life in here.”
“There’s a little bit of smell from all the smoke and everything,” added Stephen Sliger on Friday. “It will be kind of eerie knowing three people died yesterday.”
The cause of the fire has not yet been determined. Fire officials were expected to be at Thanksgiving Tower on Friday to continuing investigating the incident, but have since said that they have all of the information that they need.
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