87ºF

Space heater blamed for SW Side fire, 3 homes damaged

Fire also singes hair of 9-year-old boy

SAN ANTONIO – A gas space heater is believed to be the cause of a house fire on the Southwest Side which, fueled by strong winds, then spread to at least two other nearby homes.

San Antonio fire Battalion Chief Russell Johnson said dispatchers received a call about a fire in the 1400 block of Keats Street around 4 a.m. Thursday.

"The first unit showed up and we got a report that the whole house was totally involved," Johnson said.  "The wind -- you can see it's blowing, whipping around pretty strong -- ended up catching both sides, and both structures on each side of it, on fire before we could get there."

Genaro Rojas' ex-wife and three children five lived in the home that originally caught fire.

After hearing about it, he rushed to the scene.

"The first thing that I think of is my kids, my family, but she told me everything is fine," he said.

Rojas was relieved to find everyone, including his 9-year-old twin sons and 1-year-old daughter, OK. The family, though, lost everything.

The fire also singed the hair of one of his sons. The boy was checked out by paramedics but did not have to go to the hospital.

Next door, meanwhile, Isaac Rodriguez found out his family's homes were in the line of fire too. He said he woke up to what he thought was paper burning, then quickly realized it was much more.

Smoke from the fire next door poured into his home, and the flames, whipped by the winds, ignited the roof of his son's backyard apartment.

Rodriguez said he got his wife, son and grandchildren out of harm's way as soon as possible.

Firefighters said a home on the other side of the original house that burned also sustained minor damage to its exterior.

They said the total damage estimate is $65,000.


About the Author: