Fierce Friday Night Blaze Destroys “Pink Wall” Preston Place Condos (FINAL UPDATE 3:45pm)

The Fire Eventually Spread to the Chimney Stack and Stairwell Left of the Blaze

The Fire Eventually Spread Left and Right to Envelop the Entire Structure

A late Friday night fire continues to burn into the night at the Preston Place condos located at 6255 W. Northwest Highway (map). The three-story, 60-unit complex is located between the Athena and Preston Tower high-rises on the north side of Northwest Highway near Preston Road … very near the new Transwestern Laurel apartments currently under construction.

Dawn Begins to Show the Level of Damage

Dawn Begins to Show the Level of Damage

Update 8:30am: Morning shows the extent of the damage.  The entire perimeter of the roof and top floor units show signs of fire damage. Northwest Highway remains closed. Steam and smoke are still being carried by the wind.  It appears no embers spread to neighboring complexes. I’m no insurance adjuster, but the building looks like a total loss.

P Place Fire 9

Some nine hours after starting, firefighters still battle small blazes. The northeast corner still visibly burns.

P Place Fire 11

Update 10:30am: Smoke continues to clear and the extent of the damage revealed.  We were also alerted that last night good neighbors Preston Tower opened their community room to displaced homeowners and the Red Cross to coordinate aid.

P Place Fire 12

FINAL Update 3:45pm: Not much has changed visually since this morning.  Major flames are gone with the occasional flare-up (left side looked extinguished at 10:30am but has flared back). Steam and smoke will billow for hours to come.  You know how it is, turn over an “extinguished” log only to find red-hot embers.

What has changed are the number of news vans seeking to eke out a story by invading victims’ pain on the worst day of their lives.  A tear-stained face and a few choked-up words are chum to a voyeuristic public.

Northwest Highway has reopened and the Lookie-Lous are out.

Earlier I ran into Councilwoman Jennifer Gates who was seeking to aid her constituents on such a sad day.  Lives may not have been lost, but for these residents, life’s contents are now ash.

Certainly there will be more to report on this catastrophe and will he there. New items will be posted in stand-alone stories.

(Back to original report …)

What started as a few emergency vehicles quickly grew to dozens as the fire spread from unit to unit eventually encompassing five window segments of the rear, easterly face of the building bordering the Diplomat. The fire started about 11:30 p.m.

From Fox 4 …

Screen Shot 2017-03-04 at 12.08.54 AM

Map of the area …

PD-15 v3 Small Colored Labels

Obviously with the fire still active, a cause and extent of damage remain unknown. However, I can say that in addition to the typical yellow-orange flames, bursts of blue flames were visible which may indicate natural gas was factor or simply in the fire’s path.  Old listings show electric kitchens but also fireplaces which may have been gas.

Northwest Highway

Northwest Highway

You can see here the extent of emergency support vehicles lining Northwest Highway.  It’s unknown from how far away fire departments were called to what became a 7-alarm fire.  It spread quickly bottom-to-top and then moved side-to-side engulfing neighboring units.  At one point, a helicopter was circling the area to shine high-intensity light on the operation.

P Place Fire 3

Preston Place was built in 1979 and appears to be wood construction versus concrete.  Originally a high-rise was slated for the lot.  Recent sales have been in the $200-$300,000 range, and the sole unit on the market now is asking $129,900. The fire seems to be spreading southward from the original flashpoint, likely following joists into adjoining units and roof supports.

P Place Fire 5

This tragedy unfolds as I write.  In the photo above you can see sections of the exterior have collapsed and fire is now active in the inner courtyard.  The chimney stack visible in the first picture has collapsed into the building.  Crews are trying to limit the fire’s march into other units.

P Place Fire 6

1:06am Update: As you can see above, the fire has jumped the staircase marking the halfway point front-to-back and now includes two additional window banks.  The original location of the fire has also now largely collapsed.  Fire crews are trying to get the blaze under control but the fire continues to spread. Power is also restored to neighboring buildings cut for safety reasons.

P Place Fire 7

2:20am Update: Over half the building appears to be burning.  A large section of the northeast section has collapsed.  The fire has spread across the back/north side of the structure and across to the rear western portion.  With no end in sight, the whole structure may be lost.  At the very least all units have been damaged by either water or smoke.

2:30am Update: The front Northwest Highway side (southern) has begun to burn as fire spreads around the corner. Fire hoses snake across Northwest Highway (closed) to battle the blaze.

P Place Fire 8

3:00am Update: Ariel view of the blaze.  As you can see the southwest section of the building is, so far, the only section seemingly not actively burning.  Of course you can see there’s a light wind tonight and fire fighters are on the lookout for any embers being carried to neighboring buildings.

3:45am Update: The fire continues to travel south on the western side of the building further reducing the size of the unburnt section. Firefighters continue to try to halt the fire’s progress, but it’s clear the building will be a total loss. In addition, the partially underground garage … with cars visible … is flooded with sections possibly under rubble.

Our next report will be after sunrise.

Preston Place in happier days …

Preston Place Exterior Facing Northwest Highway

Preston Place Exterior Facing Northwest Highway

Preston Place Inner Courtyard

Preston Place Inner Courtyard will continue to update this story as needed.

Remember:  High-rises, HOAs and renovation are my beat. But I also appreciate modern and historical architecture balanced against the YIMBY movement.  If you’re interested in hosting a Staff Meeting event, I’m your guy. In 2016, my writing was recognized with Bronze and Silver awards from the National Association of Real Estate Editors.  Have a story to tell or a marriage proposal to make?  Shoot me an email

31 Comment

  • Thank you for your coverage. I am a neighbor across the alley. It is horrific.

  • Excellent reporting, Candy. I went to WFAA’s website and they had zilch.

  • Thank you for your detailed coverage!

  • Will Preston Place become Transwestern Laurel
    Phase two?

    • It will be taller than the Laurel. They’ll go for at least 20 floors. I am so saddened by this tragedy. We watched it last night as well. I’m still watching it.

  • Am very familiar with property from 20 years ago. Many elderly residents and long distances to evacuation points. Fire and rescue workers no doubt saved lives.

  • Renato – you are so correct. Our mom lived there for over 10 years til she passed away. A fire emergency there was one of my biggest fears. God bless DFD & the other emergency crews. And thank you Candy’s Dirt for your report.

  • I’m sure all the developers are chomping at their bits…….and can’t wait to build the biggest building possible at the expense of the neighborhood.

  • I lived there in the 90s. Beautiful condos and so secure. This makes me sick. Each unit had nice storage closets in the underground parking area, too. And yes, there were gas fireplaces. I believe each unit had at least two. One in the living area. One in the master bedroom.

    Thanks for posting the update. Can’t find anything about this on the major news sites yet.

  • Can you give us the name of the owner and or management company for Prestin Tower?

  • Jon. Great reporting. We are not in Dallas but was alerted to this earlier. Keep it up/

  • I rented at Preston Tower a few decades ago, and just loved it. How wonderful that they stepped forward to help their neighbors. Even more wonderful are the efforts of Dallas Fire and Rescue, and the incredible work our public servants do every day. It’s a miracle, at least from what I’ve read, that there were no casualties, and only one person being taken to the hospital. Such a tragedy when something like this happens, but it’s even closer to home when you have good friends who live in an affected building, or immediately adjacent. Thanks, Jon, for your vigilance and reporting, and our prayers are with those who, sadly, lost everything.

  • What happened to Nolan Management. When did ICI take over?

    • mm

      The management company for Preston Tower is ICI (the question asked). I do not know the management company for Preston Place (I think what you’re saying?).

  • Great job, Jon. I’m so sorry to read about this. You really were an ace reporter.

  • Thank you for the detailed report. NW Hwy is just now open.
    I’m on Averill Way

  • I live very nearby & watched it all night & all day. As I type, 2 ladder units are still on it (thank you, Dallas Fire & Rescue! I brought you out some water & Cokes). I am very puzzled by the lack of television media coverage of this. I know it’s the weekend, but it seems like just a little blip on their radar. Similar multi-family unit fires haven taken up half their coverage. What gives? Can we do a little digging?

    • mm

      Don’t forget that media has taken a battering and all have much tighter budgets now than the old days. Still, this was a 7 alarm (or more!) fire, it was multi family, and I have property and loved ones very close by. This is what hyperlocal reporting is all about, and thanks to my team of fantastic reporters, I think we do it very well!

      • I am in no way criticizing Candy’s Dirt. I’m just questioning the local television media. They acted like it was no big deal. Rich, old white people. There is still a DPD patrol car with lights flashing in front of my condo. I am neither elderly nor young. Probably 20-30 years younger than the general demographic in this neighborhood…but it’s changing. I’m just expressing my thoughts that many people lost their homes & our local mainstream news just skips over it. No television coverage of the Red Cross, etc. Just saying! Don’t mean to step on any toes. Just give it a little thought.

    • I suspect there isn’t much coverage of it because there were no serious injuries or deaths. Oddly, Fox News (National) mentioned it and showed some footage.

  • Best coverage of this I’ve found. My old hood. Frightening. I hope the residents were able to save their animals.

    • Kim, I believe one lady lost a cat but on the other hand, a fireman went back in and rescued a few. Also, many neighbors have connected with residents to “foster” their pets during transition times.