Teen Killed, Another Injured In Blaze In South Austin
Updated 02/21/13 – 10:59 a.m.
CHICAGO (CBS) – A high school senior was killed in a fire in the South Austin neighborhood overnight. An 18-year-old male also was injured when he jumped from a second-floor window to escape the blaze.
CBS 2’s Susanna Song reports the fire started around 12:40 a.m. at a home at the intersection of Waller Avenue and Iowa Street.
When firefighters arrived, flames were shooting out of the attic. Crews tried to enter the home from two sides, but the intense fire and heat forced them out, and firefighters had to tackle the blaze from the outside.
The fire started in the attic, and spread to the second floor, where an 18-year-old woman was found dead.
“While the fire was being brought under control, then that’s when they found the fire fatality on the second floor,” Fire Department Deputy District Chief Don Hroma said.
There were no working smoke detectors at the site, the fire department reported later.
Family members identified the young woman who was killed as Tamisha Davidson, a senior at Austin Career Education Center.
The homeowner’s sister, Lena Blanchard, said Tamisha moved into the home about a year ago. She said her brother’s family opened their home to Tamisha and took care of her, because she was homeless.
“She just got baptized, she started going to church,” Blanchard said.
The homeowner’s 18-year-old son jumped from a second floor window during the fire, and his father caught him on the ground.
He suffered bumps and bruises, and was taken to West Suburban Medical Center in Oak Park for treatment.
Davidson’s sister, Takara, said Tamisha was recently accepted to college and wanted to study to be a mortician.
“She was smart, talented, creative.” Takara said. “She was great at a lot of things.”
Tamisha’s friend, Tamia Sanders, said, “She was actually working to turn her life around, start something new.”
Sanders described her friend as “bubbly, always dancing, always telling somebody to be strong. She was strong herself.”
Yvette Young, the student services coordinator at the charter school, said Tamisha “just had joy within her life. Whenever you spoke with her, a smile would automatically just come across her face.”
Social studies and reading teacher Adam Wagener said, “She was always pleasant, very willing to help. She’s a very intelligent young woman, who never had a bad thing to say about anyone, never came in with a bad attitude.”
Tamisha’s friend Crystal Jaycox said, “I cried for 3 hours straight. That’s my best friend.”
Antoinette Wright said her friend was “kind-hearted.”
“She kept smiling, no matter what,” Wright said.
The fire also spread to a home next door, but did not cause any serious damage to that house.