SAFD firefighters hand out free smoke detectors in wake of fatal fire

Son: Cynthia Huron, 61, died in South Side fire

SAN ANTONIO – San Antonio Fire Chief Charles Hood returned to the scene of a deadly fire Monday afternoon where a woman in her 60s had died Sunday morning.

The fatal fire happened around 10:30 a.m. Sunday at a home in the 5200 block of South Presa Street.

Hood said the heroic actions of a Department of Public Safety trooper, who was passing by the burning home, and two other men were not enough to rescue the woman who was trapped inside.

"They did hear screams of the woman inside but were unable to make access," Hood said during a news conference outside the charred building.

According to Hood, firefighters responded to the 911 call within four minutes and discovered the woman's body inside a bedroom while they were attempting to put out the flames.

"Once they realized she was obviously dead, they went ahead and left her in position, which is what we normally do," Hood said. "There was no chance of any resuscitation for her."

Investigators say there was only one way in and out of the home. Other exits were blocked and the windows were covered with burglar bars. Hood said the home also lacked smoke detectors.

"There were no working smoke detectors in this house so that bought this woman no time to basically escape," Hood said.

As Hood's news conference wrapped up, family members were gathering in front of the home, lighting candles in her memory.

Gabriel Pizana identified the woman killed in the fire as his 61-year-old mother, Cynthia Huron. He said he visited her every day and had just stopped by to check on her Saturday night hours before the fatal fire.

"We were here, she was happy, we were talking and we were chilling. She said, 'I'm going to take my medicine and and go to sleep,'" Pizana said. "She always wanted to live alone. She wanted her space and we respected that."

Pizana said his mother's rental home had some problems and she was in the process of getting some help from the city after a San Antonio police officer offered help recently.

"She had called the cops and the cop gave her a card to help her out about her living conditions," Pizana said. "The cop came in and talked to her and said, 'This ain't right. I'm going to get you help.'"

As they typically do in the wake of a fatal fire, SAFD firefighters canvassed the surrounding neighborhoods to talk with local residents and to hand out and install free smoke detectors.

Hood acknowledged that while the city and the Fire Department do a good job of reaching San Antonio's children with fire safety programs, he believes they could do a better job reaching out to older citizens.

"This is one of our most vulnerable populations, seniors. They don't get a lot of things our children get, as far as learn not to burn, stop drop and roll, have an escape route," Hood said. "They don't get those things and it's up to us to make sure we can further educate the seniors in this community."

Hood said Huron's death is the second fire-related fatality involving an older resident in the city this year.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation but it is believed to be accidental.

Vigil held in Huron's honor

Friends and family gathered at the home Monday night for a vigil in Huron's honor.

Brooke Huron-Pizana, one of Huron's seven children, said she will miss her mom's honesty and her her advice.

"I'd always come talk to her about whatever was going on with me she would always make me feel at peace," Pizana said. "She always had something good to say and her words were always true."

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