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Homeowners React After Teetering House Is Torched: ‘It’s Just Terrible’

Ron Jenkins/Fort Worth Star-Telegram
The house on a cliff over Lake Whitney was intentionally set on fire Friday.

Five stories that have North Texas talking: homeowners talk about losing their beloved home that was falling off a cliff; a former Dallas Cowboy is released from jail; the San Antonio Spurs win the NBA Finals; and more.

On Friday, a vacant mansion teetering on a cliff at Lake Whitney was intentionally set on fire. Part of the house had already fallen into the Central Texas lake, and it was decided it would be cheaper to burn down the house than retrieve the debris from the lake. Over the weekend, the owners reacted to the news – and a scene that attracted national attention. Robert and Denise Webb visited their burned-down home and spoke with WFAA-TV. He told the station the scene was “absolutely mind-boggling.” They watched the fire live on the internet. WFAA reported: “’When the first torch went off, she lost it,’ Webb said of his wife. ‘Every room that we lived in, every room that we shared, we just watched it go up in smoke,’ she said. ‘It's just terrible.’” He said seeing the house felt like they were going to a funeral home because they were going to “see the remains.” The Lake Whitney house fire captured headlines across the country– catch up on how TV and Twitter reacted to Friday’s fire.

  • Former Dallas Cowboys tackle Josh Brent was released from jail Sunday after he was convicted for a drunken automobile crash that killed a teammate. The Associated Press reports: “Brent, 26, was convicted in January of intoxication manslaughter for the December 2012 crash that killed Jerry Brown, a Cowboys practice squad player. He was sentenced to 180 days in jail and 10 years' probation. It was not immediately clear whether he would be required to report to a rehab facility to complete his six-month sentence, which was expected to end in July. Brent crashed his Mercedes sedan on a suburban Dallas highway on the way back from a nightclub. Brown was in the passenger's seat. Witnesses recalled seeing Brent trying to pull Brown from the wreckage of the vehicle. Tests later showed Brent to have a blood-alcohol level of 0.18 percent, more than twice the legal limit for drivers in Texas.” But KXAS-TV (Channel 5) reports that Brent has requested to be transferred to a rehabilitation facility.

  • The San Antonio Spurs defeated the Miami Heat Sunday night to win the NBA Finals. The San Antonio Express-News reported: “Mission, accomplished. The Spurs’ year-long quest to avenge and redeem their collapse in last year’s Finals was realized Sunday at the AT&T Center, where they crushed Miami 104-87 in Game 5 to win their first championship in seven years, and fifth overall. The Spurs trailed by 16 early on, but roared back with a massive 59-22 surge spanning the middle of the first quarter until midway through the third.” In downtown San Antonio, things got crazy as fans celebrated by piling into pick-up trucks and waving Spurs flags. There was at least one sighting of a fan on a horse. Some ramps into downtown were shut down due to heavy pedestrian traffic, the newspaper reported on Twitter.

  • Dallas’ Continental Bridge re-opened Sunday – as a pedestrian-friendly park for walkers and cyclists. No cars allowed. Scores of visitors swarmed the bridge to admire the $12 million project. They enjoyed getting up-close views of the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge. KERA’s Bill Zeeble was there and reports that many who were there were first-time visitors to the area – but many say they intend on returning.

  • Head over to the Irving Arts Center for “East Meets West,” an exhibit featuring Chinese brush stroke paintings and floral arrangements. The Irving Arts Center explains: “Chinese brush paintings of Texas subject matter will be featured as well as stunning examples of ikebana, the Japanese art of flower arranging in this annual exhibition presented by The Association of Oriental Arts (TAO Arts) in association with the Dallas and Fort Worth Chapters of Ikebana International.” Gallery admission is free.

Cover photo: Ron Jenkins/Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Eric Aasen is KERA’s managing editor. He helps lead the station's news department, including radio and digital reporters, producers and newscasters. He also oversees, the station’s news website, and manages the station's digital news projects. He reports and writes stories for the website and contributes pieces to KERA radio. He's discussed breaking news live on various public radio programs, including The Takeaway, Here & Now and Texas Standard, as well as radio and TV programs in New Zealand and the United Kingdom.