EASTLAND COUNTY, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) — An Eastland County deputy was tragically killed while trying to save citizens from devastating fires overnight.
The Cisco Police Department confirmed Deputy Barbara Fenley, 51, died during the fires. They said, “she was a special servant and an attribute to our profession. We will kneel in prayer for her family, friends and colleagues as they mourn.”
Eastland County Sheriff Jason Weger released more information about her death Friday afternoon, saying she was helping to evacuate residents in Carbon, Texas, going door-to-door. Multiple law enforcement agencies were working in the area at the time.
It was last heard she was going to check on an elderly resident, Weger said.
“With the extreme deteriorating conditions and low visibility from smoke, Sgt. Fenley ran off the roadway and was engulfed in the fire,” the press release from Weger said.
The sheriff said Fenley began her career in law enforcement in the City of Gorman in September 2003 as a patrol officer. She was later appointed Chief of Police in Gorman in January 2007, where she stayed until 2013, when she became a deputy for Eastland County.
Fenley’s friends and family remember her as a beloved mainstay at the Eastland County Courthouse, providing much-needed security. She is survived by her husband and three kids, according to the Eastland County Sheriff’s Office.
So far, Fenley is the only confirmed death in the aftermath of the Eastland County Complex Fire, which has burned more than 45,000 acres and is only 10% contained as of Friday afternoon.
The entire communities of Gorman and Carbon were almost completely destroyed.
During a press conference Friday evening, Gov. Greg Abbott said there had been at least 50 homes lost, located in Eastland, Comanche and Brown counties.
Abbott signed a disaster declaration to assist with local counties affected.
Other smaller fires were burning throughout other areas of Texas, and Thursday’s low humidity and high winds created an ideal scenario for the blazes to quickly grow out of control. The Texas A&M Forest Service had warned of a wildfire outbreak this week because of the forecast.