It's been a week since grandmother Juanita Sanchez has been warm or even comfortable in her own home.

That's because a fire that destroyed her neighbor's home last week, unfortunately, severely damaged hers.

That fire happened last week in the 200 block of Parkview Drive near I-10 and Probandt. The fire destroyed the garage and the side of the home, but it also damaged the utility box.  

"It just started, and it just went up in flames fast," said Sanchez.

Sanchez has lived in the home for the past 12 years. It is where she raises her two grandsons, Jessy and Lorenzo Sanchez, by herself. Thanks to a school guidance counselor noticing Lorenzo had been wearing the same uniform for the past week, she got the family help right away.

"Get the power on, get them a little of everything, and we're still trying," said Elida Rodriguez, the parent and family liaison for Riverside Park Elementary School.

"For her not to know which way to turn and to be out in the cold and the boys be out in the cold, it just broke my heart," said Albert Davila, with Davila Electric.

One of the first people to help was electrician Albert Davila. When he learned the family was living without heat and electricity for days, he replaced the family's damaged electric box with a new one for free.

"God's going to bless him because he's done a very, very good job,  " said Sanchez.

"We're trying to get the power on today because she's going to have another freeze tonight, and they've already suffered enough," said Davila.

Sanchez and her grandsons had the option of staying with friends, but they all opted to stay in their home. She was afraid looters would take the little they had left, so she said they've survived by food donations from the community and by the grace of God. The two grandsons are in the fourth and seventh grade and they need new uniforms and regular clothes because most of their clothes were damaged in the fire.

If you would like to help the Sanchez family out whether it be getting them food, or help repair their home, which is still severely damaged, call Rodriguez at 210-317-2837. You can also email her at

For a list of recent stories Mariza Mendoza has done, click here.