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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    “Despite neighbors’ rescue efforts, house fire kills Fort Worth woman”

     

    The sound of someone wailing drew Amanda Paquette to the bay window of her family’s dining room Tuesday morning.

    “”It sounded like someone was in pain,”” said Paquette, 25. “”I thought someone got hit by a car. I looked out and I saw the older man pacing around and yelling and smoke coming out from all the windows on the right side of the house.””

    Alerted by his daughter, Louis Paquette rushed across the street to the burning home in the 6100 block of Wales Court in southwest Fort Worth, where his distraught neighbor, John Johnson, stood on the porch.

    “”He was screaming, ‘Help! Help! Oh my God. My wife’s still in the house!'”” Louis Paquette said.

    Louis Paquette and his daughter’s boyfriend, Allen Hallman, broke out the home’s front bedroom window to rescue 82-year-old Alma Johnson, but the intense flames kept them out.

    Hallman retrieved a garden hose and Louis Paquette sprayed water through the window to try to douse the flames and protect the woman.

    “”She was in a hospital bed. She was bedridden,”” said Louis Paquette, whose right hand was burned. “”I was just keeping it right on her because I could see her in there. She was moving around a little bit, and I could see her breathing.””

    Firefighters first feared that Alma Johnson was dead when they reached her, but upon taking her outside, they noticed signs of life. She was taken by helicopter ambulance toParkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas, where she died Tuesday afternoon, according to the Dallas County medical examiner’s office.

    John Johnson was taken to a Fort Worth hospital for treatment of minor injuries, including smoke inhalation.

    Louis Paquette’s wife, Cindy, said John Johnson had apparently tried to put out the fire himself before seeking help.

    Capt. Tom Crow, a Fire Department spokesman, said investigators determined that the blaze was an accident caused by a candle in the bedroom. He said firefighters quickly extinguished the blaze.

    “”There wasn’t a whole lot of fire to it. A lot of smoke, but not a whole lot of fire,”” he said.

    Fire investigators estimated the damage to the house at $75,000.

    As relatives gathered outside the home Tuesday morning, firefighters removed two charred mattresses and other blackened furniture.

    Neighbors say the couple lived at the home for more than three decades. John Johnson, friends say, has led the Greater Progressive Church of God in Christ for almost 50 years.

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