A house fire Friday night in Aledo left one woman dead and the cause of the fire under investigation. Crews from the Aledo Fire Department were dispatched to a house on Austin St. near Vandagriff Elementary School shortly after 7:30 p.m. March 11, according to Aledo Fire Marshal Cliff Moore. The fire, which is believed to have started in the kitchen area around the stove, was contained within the brick home, with the exterior sustaining little damage.
“We believe it burned pretty intensely inside for a while before crews got there,” Moore said. “It likely ran out of oxygen, because it did not take a great deal of water to put it out.”
Cara DeWeese, age 46, was pulled from the house during firefighting efforts after crews learned someone might be inside the home.
“She wasn’t breathing when we pulled her out,” Moore said. “They worked on her at the scene, but unfortunately were not able to save her.”
Two other members of the family also lived in the house but were not home at the time of the fire. Carlton Wigley, DeWeese’s boyfriend, and the couple’s son, Carlton Wigley III., had lived in the home for a little over two years.
Wigley has been hospitalized for complications from hemophilia since before the fire and remains hopspitalized. The son Carlton was with his mentor that evening and has continued to stay with the mentor in the Granbury area during spring break.
Carlton III is ten years old and in the fourth grade at Vandagriff Elementary School. Wigley said the community has already rallied to help the family.
“I really have struggled to stay in this community, because I think it’s so wonderful here,” Wigley said. “The staff at Vandagriff, they stand behind their kids like no other school.”
Wigley has worked two jobs in Aledo – one at Subway and at the adjoining donut shop, JK Donuts. DeWeese stayed at home with multiple serious health issues. Wigley said it was God’s timing that allowed them not to be home at the time of the fire.
“The Lord had his hand in this,” Wigley said. “Neither one of us had to come home and find her.”
DeWeese will be remembered during a Celebration of Life service March 20 at The Summit.
The fire leaves the family without a roof over their head or any belongings, and Emily Closuit of Ciera Bank in Aledo wants to help. She and a coworker have opened at account at the bank to collect donations on behalf of the family.
“This family needs community support now more than ever,” said Closuit. “I’m hoping to reach a large audience.”
The family dog Parker was also killed in the fire.
The Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s office will conduct an autopsy on the victim to determine the cause of death and whether she died before the fire started or during the fire. The house is considered a crime scene and the fire has been labeled as “suspicious,” according to Moore. Those terms are considered standard procedure in an investigation of this nature.