Body found in condo fire confirmed to be missing tenant

A body was found after a condo fire that displaced more than 100 residents. Investigators were working Monday morning to identify the body. Monica Hernandez reports.

DALLAS – A body found in the rubble of a seven-alarm condominium building has been confirmed as that of missing tenant, Jacqueline McDonald, 89.

Her body was found more than 48 hours after the fire ripped through the Preston Place Condos on Northwest Highway Friday night. One hundred residents were displaced.

McDonald was the only resident reported missing after the fire. The remains were discovered in the area where she lived early Monday morning, said Dallas Fire Rescue spokesman Jason Evans.

It took firefighters nearly 48 hours to fully extinguish the fire. Parts of the building collapsed, making it too unstable to go inside. 

Crews rappelled from a ladder above McDonald's third-story unit, where they discovered and eventually recovered the remains. 

McDonald’s son, Scott, was posting updates on Facebook over the weekend. A post hours before the remains were recovered said, "I have come to believe that she did not make it out of the unit and was overcome by smoke...  I am still very sad and I have many moments. The outpouring of prayers, support and kindness has really overwhelmed me. You guys are great and I love you right back. My mother was a beautiful person, inside and out, and everybody liked her. I am still the luckiest guy in the world."

Debris remains everywhere. Floors and ceilings have collapsed. The building is destroyed.

“It’s too hard to digest,” said tenant Vincenzo DeNardo.

Many neighbors are still stunned after witnessing the fire rip through the building.

“Each time the things on the roof started exploding, it was like a new adjustment to reality,” Deaver explained.

A steady stream of tenants had returned Sunday night. They took photos of what’s left of the building.

DeNardo lived in his condo 30 years. He lost everything.

“Water wasn’t doing anything,” he said. “The flames kept on going.”

Of the 100 displaced residents, the Red Cross says it's already helped about 30 families. Others are getting help from loved ones.

Investigators say they still do not know what caused the fire at Preston Park Condos. They say with the amount of damage, it will be tough to determine.

A small fire flared up at the condos Tuesday night, but fire crews put it out quickly and no injuries were reported.

© 2017 WFAA-TV


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