Captain dies after fighting blaze; Officials suspect he had massive heart attack

By Joshua Benton and Tiara M. Ellis
Staff Writers

Page 35A

A Dallas fire captain died Thursday after he helped fight a house fire in Far North Dallas.

Capt. Michael L. DePauw, 51, was rushed to Medical City Dallas Hospital as CPR was administered. He was pronounced dead at the hospital at 9:04 p.m.

Fire officials said that they suspect Capt. DePauw suffered a massive heart attack but that they will continue to investigate.

No one else was hurt in the fire, which was reported about 8 p.m.

The fire broke out in a two-story home in the 6700 block of Briar Cove Drive, and officials said Capt. DePauw was among the first to reach the second floor to battle the blaze in the attic.

Flames were shooting through the roof, but the fire was quickly brought under control. Damage was estimated at $150,000.

Fire Lt. Doug Dickerson said some of the 40 firefighters shifted their energies to helping the captain once his condition was known.

“That always is the focus when one of your own is felled,” he said.

Capt. DePauw had been with the department since March 1972 and worked at the station at Belt Line and Hillcrest roads.

Up to 20 of his comrades and friends stood near the hospital’s emergency room entrance, hugging and consoling one another.

When Mr. DePauw’s wife arrived at the hospital, firefighters lined the walkway, many with their hands crossed behind their backs.

Dallas Fire Chief Steve Abraira joined the vigil.

“Unfortunately, losing anybody is a tragedy in our minds,” he said. “It really hurts us. We consider every one of us a big family.”