SAPD: Driver crashes into home, helps residents escape fire

7 people temporarily trapped in burning home


SAN ANTONIO – San Antonio police searched Wednesday for a driver who lost control of a stolen minivan that crashed into a home and briefly trapped a family of seven.

Iris Martinez said she, her husband and five children were all asleep when the minivan crashed around 3:15 a.m. Wednesday. 

Martinez said she heard a loud bang that sounded like an explosion outside their home in the 2700 block of Wheatfield on the city's Northwest Side.

"I see lights coming from my living room and I'm freaking out, yelling my lungs off," she said. "My house was in flames."

According to police, when the driver lost control of the minivan, it barreled into Martinez's pickup and SUV, which were parked in her driveway. 

Martinez said the pickup ended up in her back yard. One of the vehicles hit a gas line on the side of her home, causing the home, the SUV and the pickup to catch fire.

The fireball blocked both doors on the side of the home, leaving the family no choice but to break a window and climb out to safety.

"And then that man comes and he's helping my husband get the kids out. So I'm  trying to get everybody out and I'm like, 'Who is he?'" Martinez said.

The stranger who helped her family to safety turned out to be the driver who put them all in danger in the first place, Martinez said.

"Because of that person we could have been dead. But luckily, he had remorse. I guess God touched him somehow and helped us out," Martinez said.

The man's moment of generosity apparently didn't last long because he fled the scene, police said.

Officers later contacted the registered owner of the van and found out that it had been stolen, police said.


The crash robbed Martinez and her family of both of their vehicles, and she said they no longer will be able to live in their home.


"My friend is helping us out right now, but, basically, we're homeless," Martinez said.

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