COLLEYVILLE — It’s one thing to watch a house go up in flames. It’s a whole other thnig to know that a young woman's life was lost because of it.
“They came to our door, just like ringing, ringing, ringing, ringing,” said neighbor Nancy Penwell. “So we got up and went to the door, and she was screaming, 'Fire, fire!' So I called 911.”
By the time fire trucks arrived at the 3500 block of Blue Quail Lane in Colleyville just after 1 a.m. Tuesday, the house was an orange fireball. Colleyville Fire Marshal Robert McKeown said five people were inside the home, including a teenager and a baby.
- WATCH: Dramatic video of fire
Officials with the Colleyville Fire Department confirmed three people and the baby escaped the blaze safely.
However, the 17-year-old — identified by her school district as Tylar Batchelor — was unaccounted for after firefighters were able to get the fire under control. McKeown would not confirm the girl’s identity, but said the medical examiner’s office had taken the victim’s body.
“You get to thinking how lucky you really are,” said neighbor Donny Penwell. He and his wife, Nancy, live just across the street. “When I heard all the noise, I thought it was my house at first, because everybody was just screaming.”
When they realized what was actually going on, they brought the survivors inside their house. Donny Penwell said a man was screaming that his sister was still inside the burning home. Nancy comforted a woman with the baby.
“I hugged her neck and said, 'I’m so sorry,' and she said, ‘I’ve been through so much,’ and she has,” Nancy Penwell said.
Neighbors said there had been a death at the home just months ago.
A Burleson ISD spokeswoman said there are grief counselors on hand Tuesday and Wednesday at Centennial High School, where Batchelor was a student. A friend told News 8 that Batchelor played soccer, and was known for telling funny stories.
“It was horrible,” Donny Penwell said. “It really was.”
The fire left the large home severely damaged and structurally unsound. McKeown said the fire does not appear suspicious, but investigators still don’t know what caused it.