SAN ANTONIO -

An elderly couple escaped their burning home Monday night with the help of a neighbor.

Marco Contreras said he was mowing his lawn when he saw the smoke coming from the chimney of his neighbor’s home in the 300 block of East Rector. He went over for a closer look and saw flames and thick, black smoke coming from the garage.

Contreras said he went to the front door to see if his neighbors were home and that’s when he saw them making their way out of the home.

"When I'm trying to help, they open the door. The old lady is already trying to open the door. I helped to take her out," Contreras said. “I give her to this guy and I take the old man that is coming out of the house."

Firefighters arrived a short time later and began attacking the fire that had quickly spread to the roof of the home.

According to Assistant Chief Oscar Gonzalez, it appeared the fire started in the garage and may have been sparked by paint thinner and other chemicals stored too close to a hot water heater. 

Gonzalez said the cause remained under investigation.  He said the home was a total loss.