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Firefighters save family's Christmas after flames tear through east side home

Flames caused $50,000 in damages

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SAN ANTONIO – Flames tore through an East Side home Sunday afternoon, displacing a family a week before Christmas eve, but firefighters made sure not all was lost in the blaze.

As firefighters battled the flames at the back of the home in the 4100 block of Scarlett Oak, a special team of firefighters worked to salvage Christmas presents from the home. 

"That was a great call by one of the officers inside from one of the fire crews that noticed they had had a lot of the Christmas presents and other decorations and belongings inside the house that had not been affected by fire yet," Tony Rodriguez, San Antonio Fire Department Battalion Chief said. "We had a lot of water spray going on trying to control the fire, we had smoke -- firefighters moving in and out of the house. He advised that we set up a special group of firefighters to salvage anything in the house that we could take care of at that point. They're the ones that brought out all of the gifts."

Rosa De La Cruz has lived at the home with her brother and his family for about a year and said she never expected firefighters to carry out the presents. 

"When I saw them coming out I was like 'what?'," De La Cruz said.

Investigators believe a gas can that fell over near a water heater at the back of the house caused the fire. Rodriguez said half of the home was destroyed before firefighters could get the flames under control. 

While the back half of the house suffered the most fire damage, Rodriguez said there was also smoke and water damage.

The Red Cross met with the family to assist them in finding another place to stay.

The fire caused an estimated $50,000 in damages.