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After Early Morning Fire, Dallas Begins Demolishing Valley View Mall

It's the second fire in two months for the dilapidated remains of the mall, which was recently deemed a habitual criminal property by the Dallas police Chief Eddie Garcia.
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An early morning fire at Valley View Mall injured two firefighters. Dallas Fire-Rescue is still on the scene. Tom Erickson

This story was originally published at 9:30 a.m., and was updated at 4:30 p.m. to include new information about the mall’s demolition.

A little more than a month after the remains of Valley View Mall caught fire, Dallas Fire-Rescue responded to another two-alarm blaze at the structure early Thursday morning. By noon, the city decided to complete the demolition of the remaining husk. It took four hours for demolition crews to begin tearing down the vacant 50-year-old mall.

According to sources with the city who spoke on background this afternoon, the fire was seemingly the last straw of a long line of frustrations, and Dallas asked permission from the state to demolish the site.

Councilwoman Jaynie Schultz confirmed the demolition and noted that the developers who own that parcel—Jeff and Scott Beck— would be footing the bill.

The action started early in the morning. DFR spokesman Jason Evans says firefighters responded to a 911 call around 4:30 a.m., and the first to the scene encountered heavy smoke and fire and quickly requested a second alarm. Two firefighters became trapped in the early morning fire, he said, but were rescued and removed quickly.

“One sustained undisclosed burn injuries while the other sustained an injury of the musculoskeletal variety,” he said. While neither firefighter sustained life-threatening injuries, both were taken to a local hospital for evaluation.

As of 9 a.m., Evans says that fire crews were engaging in defensive operations, but 40 units remained at the scene around 12:30 p.m. The cause of the blaze remains undetermined, but Schultz said the fire and smoke were near the vacant AMC theater inside Valley View Mall, which sits in her district.

This is the second blaze at Valley View in a little over a month.

On Feb. 11, DFR responded to a fire that was also near the former theater, which closed in January 2022. In December, shortly after D Magazine reported on the conditions of the remaining portion of the mall, the city of Dallas sent a demand letter to the Becks. The city warned the father and son that they would need to improve the security at the site until its demolition and gave them a firm deadline of July 28 to finish razing the mall. The city later amended that deadline to June 1, and advanced it further with state approval after Thursday’s fire.

The city had already deemed the area a “habitual criminal property,” a legal term used by police and prosecutors attempting to hold property owners liable for ongoing criminal activity. Typically, that label comes with more fines, more scrutiny, and more requirements.

The notice sent to the Becks was signed by Dallas Police Chief Eddie Garcia, who listed five cases of criminal mischief and another five of criminal trespass at the location. Six of those occurred in the last year. The notice also requires the Becks to hire security guards to continuously patrol the area whenever demolition crews are not present, erect perimeter fencing around the structure, improve lighting around the area, and install security cameras.

The Becks were due to meet with Dallas police to rebut the designation on March 6. We have requested details of the outcome of that meeting. If the Becks could not prove that they were complying with what the city asked of them, they’ll have to pay $949 a month and place signage that informs the public that the site is a habitual criminal property.

But the point now seems to be moot since demolition has begun. Schultz said Thursday that it was clear that “the Becks were not abiding by the security requirements.”

“The doors were open, the fences were down, and there was little to no security,” she said. “I saw it for myself. They completely failed to abide by the agreement. They have failed not only our city, but they put the lives of firefighters at risk, and two were injured.”

The tussle between the Becks and the city over their portion of the Valley View Mall site has been ongoing for several years. The site is included in the city’s plan for a 450-acre International District that also includes the Galleria and everything between the two sites. Also planned: a pre-k through 12th grade Dallas ISD STEAM school, a $10 million people mover paid for by the North Central Texas Council of Governments, a complete street makeover at Montfort Drive, and a large park.


Bethany Erickson

Bethany Erickson

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Bethany Erickson is the senior digital editor for D Magazine. She's written about real estate, education policy, the stock market, and crime throughout her career, and sometimes all at the same time. She hates lima beans and 5 a.m. and takes SAT practice tests for fun.

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