Family 'feeling love' of friends, strangers after losing Far North Side home in fire

Family's home among 2 damaged on Desert Poppy

SAN ANTONIO – A Far North side couple said they are “feeling the love” of family, friends and even strangers in the wake of a fire that heavily damaged their home and one next door.

Ben and Tommie Sanchez owned one of two homes, located in the 4700 block of Desert Poppy, that went up in flames Sunday afternoon.

“We have lots of friends and family who have reached out,” Ben Sanchez said. “They’re offering clothes, housing, a shower, whatever we need.”

The couple and their two children, who are 5 and 7 years old, had gone out to lunch and returned home to find firetrucks crowded on their cul de sac.

“We jumped on (Loop) 1604 and I could see the smoke from this area. It was kind of surreal,” Ben Sanchez said.

Tommie Sanchez said when she saw the amount of smoke, she knew it wasn’t a small fire.

On Monday morning, they returned to the home to get a look at the damage, an estimated $400,000 worth in all to both homes.

“Pictures, little jewelry was all salvageable, so we got lucky there,” Ben Sanchez said.

The same could not be said for their home. The second story, especially, was ravaged by the flames.

The home next door appeared to have sustained an equal amount of damage.

This was despite the efforts of another neighbor, who, before firefighters arrived, had tried to douse the flames with a garden hose.

The Sanchezes said they are grateful for all the support they’ve received from everyone.

“It totally picks you up from you feeling like you lost everything to seeing all these people come through, (saying), 'Tell me what you need,” Tommie Sanchez said.

Her husband described the outreach as “overwhelming.”

The fire happened less than 24 hours before what Tommie Sanchez expected to be another tearful experience — the first day of school for her youngest child.

“It was already tragic because he’s my last one,” she said. “Now this.”

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