DALLAS — Firefighters gathered and saluted in a somber moment as an ambulance drove away with the body of a Dallas Fire-Rescue firefighter who disappeared after radioing that he was trapped during a six-alarm blaze at a northeast Dallas condominium building on Monday.
At noon, Dallas Fire-Rescue revealed a boy was found trapped in the rubble. Firefighters were search for the missing firefighter and heard crying. Responders were able to pull him from the debris and he was taken to an area hospital in unknown condition.
At 11 a.m. Monday, Dallas Fire-Rescue Chief Louie Bright, III confirmed that 28-year veteran Stanley Wilson was found dead inside the rubble of the fire hours after a radio message was heard from the firefighter saying, "I'm trapped."
"A longtime member with the department," Bright said. "A hard worker, certainly a hero with us for all of his efforts today."
The fire chief said Wilson is survived by his wife, Jenny, teenaged sons Noah and Luke, and his mother.
"He's a hero," said Mayor Mike Rawlings, who joined Bright during the conference. "And as I told his boys, they should be very proud."
The fire at the complex, located in the 2300 block of Abrams Road just north of LBJ Freeway, burned so intensely that firefighters had to call for six alarms, bringing additional manpower to the scene. A portion of the three-story building collapsed and the blaze destroyed at least 24 condos.
During their rescue attempt, about 150 firefighters worked together to clear debris as they searched for the firefighter who called for help at about 5:30 a.m.
At about 8:30 a.m., a gurney set up for the missing firefighter was moved and firefighters formed a line around the burnt out building. The firefighters saluted as Wilson's body, draped with a United States flag, was carried to an ambulance.
"The thing you have to realize about being on this job is that it's not about how well you know a person," said an emotional Jason Evans, a spokesman with Dallas Fire-Rescue. "It's just the fact that you know - just as you know about yourself - that you would put your life on the line for somebody else. And as long as that person is willing to do the same thing, then that's a brother or a sister to you."
In addition to pulling the boy from the rubble, firefighters were able to rescue five other people during the blaze, Evans said.
Wilson worked at Station 53, located in the 1400 block of John West Rd. in Dallas.
"We lost one of ours," Rawlings said. "Our hearts are broken for the family, for the city, for the department."
The mayor said Wilson was a 1980 graduate of Lake Highlands High School.
"Just a few miles away, he laid down his life for other citizens," Rawlings said.
Dallas firefighters brought out three large plastic bags from the ER. Inside was the protective suit Bright wore while fighting the blaze. A Facebook page called Remembering Stanley Wilson has already garnered more than 3,500 likes.
"Fireman Wilson's professionalism was exemplary," Rawlings said. "His sacrifice was complete. He's a hero."
One of the department's assistant chaplains said Wilson's wife is appreciate of the condolences her family has received in the short time since her husband's tragic death.
Two Dallas firefighters, both with leg injuries, were taken to a hospital and two residents were treated for smoke inhalation at the scene.
It appeared that no tenants were missing or seriously injured in the fire that was first reported at 3 a.m. The American Red Cross was at the scene to assist residents with emergency needs.
At noon, firefighters continued to battle hot spots at the scene.
Earlier in the morning, firefighters paid close attention to embers from the blaze that threatened other nearby homes and apartments.
"They're fighting the wind today, and it's making it worse for them to try and get it out," said a neighborhood woman who identified herself as Selina. "The flames are just incredible, and my heart goes out to everyone involved."
Streets surrounding the fire scene were closed to traffic to clear the way for emergency vehicles.
According to tax records, the 394,000 square foot condominium building was built in 1980.