Family pets die in South Side house fire

5 people also displaced by electrical fire

SAN ANTONIO – A fire in a South Side home Wednesday left two family pets dead and five people displaced.

Firefighters said they found one of the family's dogs inside the burning home, but had trouble locating a second one. They found the missing dog later, but it was too late, authorities said.

A third dog escaped the smoke and was found running around in the back yard.

Ruth Villanueva said she had left her home in the 300 block of East Southcross Boulevard to take her 15-year-old twins to school.

Shortly before 8:30 a.m., she received a call from her adult son, telling her that her home was on fire.

"We were just gone maybe, like, 15 minutes," she said.  "I thought he was playing a joke, trying to get me to hurry home."

When she arrived, she saw more than a half-dozen fire trucks in the street near her single-story home.

Villanueva sat on a curb across the street, crying and reflecting on what she said has been a tough year. Still reeling from the relatively recent loss of her parents, she said she also lost her car to Fourth of July vandals, who torched it with fireworks.

Villanueva also has been struggling financially, working to pay a $1,900 water bill caused by a previously undetected leak.

She saw nearly 40 years' worth of memories go up in smoke Wednesday inside the home where she once lived with her parents.

"My mom and dad both died in that house," she said. "I took care of my dad. He had lung cancer and he died there. I didn't want to lose my house."

Firefighters estimate the damage to the home at about $10,000.

Villanueva told news crews that she had no insurance. Firefighters called in the American Red Cross to assist the family.

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