2,000 Expected for Dallas Firefighter's Funeral

Investigators study troubled condo complex that was site of deadly blaze

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Thousands expected to attend the funeral of fallen Dallas Fire-Rescue firefighter Stanley Wilson, a 28-year veteran with the department. He died May 20, 2013 in a condo complex fire. He is survived by his wife and two sons according to Chief Bright III. (Published Wednesday, May 22, 2013)

    Funeral arrangements have been finalized for a Dallas firefighter who died in a burning condo complex early Monday morning.

    The six-alarm fire destroyed the 24-unit building at the Hearthwood Condominiums in the 12300 block of Abrams Road.

    All of the residents escaped without injury, but Stanley Wilson, 51, was trapped inside the burning building.

    He was a married father of two sons and a 28-year fire department veteran.

    Visitation will be Friday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Restland Funeral Home at 13005 Greenville Ave. in Dallas.

    The funeral service will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday at Park Cities Baptist Church at 3933 Northwest Highway in University Park, with burial to follow at Restland Cemetery.

    "They're there for us when we need them," Hearthwood Condominiums resident Linda Griffith said.

    Investigators on Wednesday permitted her to rescue a cat from a unit at the complex that was not destroyed but was inside the area secured for the investigation.

    "My friend Rose and her son had been trying to get in to get the kitty, and they weren't allowed to get in," she said.

    A special team of investigators including the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Texas State Fire Marshal's Office and Dallas Fire-Rescue, dug through the wreckage Wednesday.

    The ATF's national response team was set up to specialize in explosive and arson fires but can also be used in line-of-duty death investigations. Russ Morrison with the ATF said the team provides special equipment and expertise to help investigations.

    Morrison said investigators have some clues about where the fire may have started in the complex but that conclusions about the cause of the blaze would take several days.

    They hope to have more answers by the time of Wilson's funeral this weekend.

    Heathwood Condominiums is a mix of owner-occupied and rental units.

    Records show Dallas Code Enforcement Inspectors have been called to the complex eight times in the past year for three structure, two plumbing, two air conditioning and one swimming pool complaints.

    Most code complaints were corrected by unit owners or the owners association, but inspectors were refused entry to units in three cases, according to city officials.

    Several other fires have also occurred at the complex.

    Resident Zi Chen said he was rescued by firefighters from a 2009 fire that destroyed a different 24-unit building in the complex.

    "I actually overslept the fire alarm," he said. "I was actually the last one in the building, and the firefighters got me out without a ladder, so I am thankful."

    That building was never repaired, and the empty slab remains at the complex today.

    "There was some type of money issue that the homeowners association supposedly took out, so there's a lot of lawsuits going on," Chen said.

    Chen said that blaze was the result of kids playing with fire in a garbage container and said he suspects this fire may be a similar cause, but investigators said it is too soon to know.