The Defenders are investigating whether a West Side neighborhood needs "No Parking" signs to keep people from parking on the street, blocking firefighters.

Patricia Cmielewski and her husband, Erik Duke, were able to save his mother's life during a fire, but her home in the 700 block of Micklejohn endured significant damage. 

"I was screaming and hollering, 'It's coming out of the top, why aren't y'all doing something?" homeowner Beatrice Duke -- Erik's mother -- said she was asking the firefighters.

She watched as the fire in the home she lived in for 40 years spread through the back, engulfing the carport and a van parked out back.

"When the first unit showed up, there were cars parked on every side. (I) think (there) was a local church service going on, so second and subsequent units had a tough time getting there because of the way the cars were parked," said San Antonio Fire Department Battalion Chief Mark Black.

Duke and her son said they think more of her home may have been saved if firefighters hadn't had to maneuver around all the parked cars lining both sides of the street.

"It's going to have to be redone," Beatrice Duke said. "It's pretty bad."

Micklejohn is a residential street with no signs restricting parking, but residents want to know if anything can be done to prevent similar situations in the future.

"Yesterday was definitely an eye-opener," Erik Duke said. "The firemen had a problem. There were four trucks here. It took them a while to get to the house because they really couldn't find parking."

Public Works spokeswoman April Alcoser explained homeowners can request "No Parking" signs be put up on their street, but a majority vote of the homeowners is needed and it would also prohibit them from parking on the street in front of their own homes.

For more information on the city's regulations, visit

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