Burglar Bar Safety Campaign After Tragic Fire Death

Safety meeting 6-8 p.m. Wednesday at Zumwalt Middle School

Dallas leaders are promoting burglar bar safety after the fire death of a neighborhood political leader on her own front porch.

Johnnye Hughes died April 6, locked behind the bars she had for crime protection.

Neighbors in the 2300 block of Blue Creek Drive said they could hear her screaming for help but could not reach her in the heavy flames and smoke.

"Many people – not just in that area, throughout the city – still have those burglar bars," said Dallas City Councilman Casey Thomas.

The councilman set up a burglar bar safety meeting to be held Wednesday night.

"We're going to have a community conversation about what we can do to be proactive so we don't have another situation like Ms. Johnnye Hughes," Thomas said.

Dallas Police, Fire and code enforcement officials will attend the meeting with information about modern burglar bar escape features that allow emergency exit.

"People have to feel safe, and if that's what it takes for them to feel safe, I can understand that. But what we want to do, we want to partner," Thomas said.

The councilman said city officials will promote neighborhood watch and other police crime prevention programs to boost security.

"Let's have them partner with the police department to make them feel safe to where they don't feel the need to have those burglar bars," he said.

The meeting is from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at Zumwalt Middle School, 2445 East Ledbetter Drive, around the corner from the fire scene.

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