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The flames were out, the fire trucks gone, but friends and relatives still huddled in the quiet cold in front of the burned-out two-flat in South Austin this morning, waiting.
Soon, their cries turned to screams as the body of 18-year-old Timisha Davidson was taken out and wheeled to a white morgue van.
"She was a fun, outgoing person and she always made people laugh,'' said her father, Willie Profit, 39, who faced the grim task of identifying his daughter. "I'm very upset."
Davidson was going to graduate from Austin Career Education Center this year and wanted to become a teacher, her father said.
Davidson, who lived with her mother, enjoyed helping others with their hairstyles. "She loved doing hair,'' said Profit, adding that she was self-taught.
Profit learned of the fire from a friend. "From how the building looked, it pretty much looked like she had smoke inhalation and burns," Profit said. "I wouldn't wish that on anybody.''
Profit said he was not sure how the blaze started. His daughter had been at the home, where her boyfriend lived, for a few hours before the fire started. Earlier, she had been hanging out with her sister, he said.
Profit said he has four sons and another daughter.
Fire officials say the fire broke out around 12:15 a.m. near the intersection of Waller Avenue and Iowa Street, and the upper floor of the building was engulfed by the time firefighters arrived.
"They had heavy fire on the second floor, heavy fire in the attic," Deputy Fire Chief Don Hroma said. "The attic was totally involved."
Witnesses said everyone in the house made it out except for Davidson. One person jumped out a window, they said. A man who suffered smoke inhalation was taken to West Suburban Medical Center in fair-to-serious condition, fire officials said.
The cause of the fire was under investigation. The home had no working smoke detectors, fire officials said later Thursday.
"My best friend just died," Crystal Jaycox said at the scene. "She was a kind person, she was open-hearted. She was going to graduate in June. She was only 18. She smiled all day, every day."
Davidson's sister, Gabrielle Thomas, said a friend called her about the fire.
"I woke my momma and we came down here," she said. "I have no answers yet. She was nice, real nice. That's what's so cruel, we don't have answers. Everybody made it out except for her."
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