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Electric wheelchair malfunctions, causes house fire on South Side

Man in wheelchair suffered burns to legs

SAN ANTONIO - An 82-year-old man in a wheelchair was severely injured on Tuesday after he was pulled from his burning home.

Aurelio Piña, 82, sustained second degree burns to his legs and suffered smoke inhalation.

James Powell, acting Battalion Chief with the San Antonio Fire Department, said Piña's wheelchair malfunctioned and caught fire, which spread throughout the house, located in the 400 block of Aaron Place.

"It looks like the wheelchair was the point of ignition," said Powell. "He managed to get out of the wheelchair into a bedroom. The neighbors saw smoke, broke in, attempted to put the wheelchair out, but did not because of the heat."

Powell said Piña was later rescued when a firefighter pulled him out of his burning home.

Piña lived there with his wife, but she was not home at the time.

Piña's daughter, Sandra, said the family had just purchased the wheelchair from a flea market after numerous attempts to get a new one from Medicare.

"It is pretty scary and pretty sad, what happened to my dad," said Sandra. "He was at the house alone."

Aurelio Piña was scheduled to undergo surgery at San Antonio Military Medical Center as of Tuesday night.

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