Neighbor sympathizes with family who lost everything in house fire

Stephen Rios said he also lost his home to fire nearly 2 decades ago

SAN ANTONIO – A family is without its home after a grease fire tore through the house Sunday afternoon. The family's neighbor, Stephen Rios, said he sympathizes with the family after he lost his home to a fire.

Rios said the flames brought back horrible memories for him.

“I heard a loud bang, so I freaked out and I ran downstairs thinking it was my home and I run outside and I see the fire shooting up over the rooftop,” Rios said.

Rios said his home burned down nearly 20 years ago.

“I know exactly what they were feeling, so when I was seeing that, I started ringing the bells about all the things in my head and thought, 'Wow I remember when our house caught fire,'” Rios said.

Rios said he tried to find his neighbor but the smoke was very thick.

“He was in the middle of the smoke,” Rios said. “I couldn’t find him at first, the smoke was so thick. He finally ran out and he kept saying ‘the stove, the stove,’ and that he had left something on and fell asleep.”

SAFD battalion chief Stephen Ruston said that, luckily, the neighbor only suffered minor smoke inhalation but no other injuries were reported.

“There is nothing worse than losing your home but at the end of the day it is all about nobody got hurt,” Rios said. “That is all that matters.”

Now Ruston is stressing the importance of always having a fire extinguisher in the house, especially in the kitchen.

“If you know where it is at and how to use it and if you follow the instructions on it, it can help prevent any major fires from happening,” Ruston said.

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