By now you may have heard about the devastating fire that engulfed a Preston Center condominium complex last night, the Preston Place condos, a 1979-era three story condo complex located at the north eastern corner of Preston and Northwest Highway, “Behind the Pink Wall”. The address is 6255 West Northwest Highway. I happen to have an editor who lives next door, who called me at 11:45 am (I am a night owl) and then I watched with him through text message photos and video as the fire got worse and larger. We have covered this area extensively on my website, CandysDirt.com, but last night, all I could think of was the first responders and how vital they would be to the folks in those condos. The fire started at night, and many of the residents are senior citizens. Readers say that many lives were saved by these firemen who went into rescue mode, knocking on condo doors and dragging residents out. At this point, I believe only one person may be missing, but she could have been out of town. Unfortunately, many pets did not survive the inferno. We are eagerly awaiting the report on the cause.
I thought about the Dallas Police and Fire Pension Plan, and the struggle to save it going on at Dallas City Hall and in Austin. And I thought, my Lord these are the people who are the beneficiaries of that pension plan. These are the people who are affected by it, who are worried that the City of Dallas (and my opponent) may not stand by that plan, but rather, let it wither and rot for the current retirees and start a 401K for all incoming police and firefighters.
(The state and Councilman Scott Griggs have come up with a way to save the pension without raising one tax dollar.)
In the days to come, we shall hear much more about the first responders in Dallas, and how they helped clear a 60 unit condominium in the dark of the night while the fire got more and more intense. Observers tell me they even saw plumes of color, suspecting some kind of gas or fuel.
Perhaps City Politics are too complicated to think about, and the Dallas Police & Fire Pension Plan is just too much of a mess. Yes, there is a lot of blame to spread around for the demise of the principle, but when a North Dallas condominium lit up the sky and threatened 60 plus lives, politics and pensions were brushed to the side.
The men and women who battled that blaze are the faces behind that pension plan, and they deserve our support.