A Northeast Side man has died and his father is struggling to stay alive after they both suffered smoke inhalation and burns during a fire in their home.
The fire broke out before 5 a.m. Thursday in the 4800 block of Castle Pine Drive--located between E. Midcrown Drive and Gibbs Sprawl Road near Woodlake Parkway.
A teenage relative somehow made it out safely and ran to a friend’s home, according to Capt. Michael Moore with the San Antonio Fire Department.
Neighbors, meanwhile, called 911, then went into rescue mode, themselves, while waiting for firefighters to arrive.
"Every window I broke, there was just black smoke coming out and flames," said Johnny Barrera, one of several neighbors who tried to rescue the two victims.
“It was mostly the smoke that wouldn't let us go in,” he said, “until the firemen got here. They're the ones that pulled them out."
Their failed rescue attempt left Barrera and other neighbors feeling somewhat defeated.
“They're in there and you can't do nothing about it because of the flames. That's what's hard about it," he said.
Firefighters, though, did manage to get the pair out, but only after they had been seriously injured.
"They located two victims in a bedroom and got them out of the house, began medical treatment,” Moore said.
The father, who is in his 40s, and his 23-year-old son were both rushed to San Antonio Military Medical Center for treatment.
The son died later at the hospital.
Early on, neighbors said the teenage girl told them the fire appeared to have started in the family’s Christmas tree.
Arson investigators, using a dog, combed through the home to look for clues.
But by mid-morning, they had ruled out the Christmas tree as the reason for the fire.
Although they had not located the exact cause, they said they believe that it started in the living room and did not appear to be suspicious in nature.