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Hero Down: Eastland County Sheriff’s Sgt. Barbara Majors Fenley Killed By Wildfire While Evacuating Residents

Carbon, TX – Eastland County Sheriff’s Office (ECSO) Sergeant Barbara Majors Fenley died in the line of duty on March 17 after her patrol vehicle was engulfed by a wildfire as she was trying to evacuate residents.

The 51-year-old sergeant was on her way to check on an elderly resident during the evacuation of the swift-moving Eastland County Complex fires when her vehicle veered off the roadway and into a field, KTAB reported.

“With the extreme deteriorating conditions and low visibility from smoke, Sgt. Fenley ran off the roadway and was engulfed in the fire,” Eastland County Sheriff Jason Weger said.

The raging wildfires had already consumed over 45,000 acres and burned dozens of structures by the time Sgt. Fenley was killed, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page.

“Sgt. Fenley gave her life in the service of others and loved her community,” the ECSO said in a statement, according to KXAS.

Sgt. Fenley’s law enforcement career began in 2003, when she joined her hometown police department in Gorman as a patrol officer.

She became chief of the Gorman Police Department (GPD) in January of 2007 and remained at the helm of the department until she joined the ECSO in 2013, KXAS reported.

“She didn’t care who you were or what you did. She was always going to be there. Doesn’t matter if you were 5 years old or 85 years old, she was going to take care of you,” her son, Jon Fenley, told KXAS. “I just want people to know how good of a person she was, literally always putting everyone first before herself.”

Texas Governor Greg Abbott presented Sgt. Fenley’s sister-in-law, Anna Olvera, with a folded American flag on Friday, KXAS reported.

The flag had been flying outside the state capitol building.

“She was a good woman,” Olvera said. “She loved her community, she loved her job, and she died doing what she liked to do.”

Sgt. Fenley leaves behind her husband, three sons, and two grandchildren, KXAS reported.

She will be laid to rest on March 23, according to KXAS.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Eastland County Sheriff’s Office Sergeant Barbara Majors Fenley, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.

Rest easy, hero. We’ll hold the line from here.

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

View all articles
Written by Holly Matkin

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