“You’re thinking it’s going to be like every other night,” Jonathon Fenley, 28, told CNN. “We were just looking out for her when we got that phone call.”
He spoke to his mother, Deputy Sgt. Barbara Fenley, Thursday night as she helped evacuate people in the town of Carbon, about 100 miles west of Fort Worth. She was last heard from while on her way to assist an elderly person, the Eastland County Sheriff’s Office said.
Amid deteriorating conditions and low visibility from smoke, Fenley ran off the roadway and was killed in the flames, the sheriff’s office said.
Fenley loved her job, she loved her family and was always helping others – even when that meant putting other people’s needs above her own, her son said. “If someone else was having a bad day, she always tried to cheer them up, even if she was having a worse day,” he said.
At least 50 homes have been lost in the flames, authorities said.
“Relative humidity values will drop to the low to mid teens once again, but much warmer and windier conditions are expected to develop compared to today,” the update said. “Rapid fire spread will once again be possible Sunday afternoon / evening.”
Eastland County Judge Rex Fields described the area between Carbon and Gorman as looking “like some kind of lunar landscape,” with no vegetation, during a Friday news conference. “It’s just an amazing amount of devastation,” the judge added.
In the small town of Ranger, about 10 miles northeast of Eastland, a church and several downtown buildings burned Thursday, CNN affiliate KTVT reported.
“I’ve been fire chief here for 40 years and when you have something like this … it hurts. It hurts the whole community,” Ranger Fire Department Chief Darrell Fox said. “This church had been here for 100 years.”
The Crews Gap Fire, in Runnels County, was also still burning Saturday and was 80% contained by noon, the forest service said.
CNN’s David Williams contributed to this report.