GARLAND — An investigation is underway after a row of townhouses went up in flames in Garland Sunday afternoon.
A resident at The Trails complex perished in the blaze at the corner of Pebble Beach Drive and Spyglass Lane.
Neighbors and close friends told News 8 her name is Kathy Cole, and that the 69-year-old was a longtime resident of the area.
"Everyone knew her," said Dan Peden, who lived across the street.
The first alarm went out around 1:20 p.m. in the golf course community, and gusty winds blowing in from the course — along with temperatures approaching 100 degrees — helped spread the flames to multiple units within minutes.
Ironically, one of the units was leased by a Dallas firefighter who rushed next door to try and rescue Cole, who was his neighbor. The flames proved to be too intense — even for someone who has experienced this situation.
"I didn't know if she was home; her car was there," said Mike Christopherson. "When I got to the front door, all I could see was fire, so there was nothing we could do."
Cole's son and a number of other friends and family members were visibly shaken at the scene on Sunday afternoon.
The investigation into what caused the fire remains in its early stages, but arson investigators were piecing through the units late on Sunday.