SAN ANTONIO – San Antonio firefighters battled flames at three West Side homes after a fire spread from one house to two next door.
The fire was called in just before 7 a.m. in the 2500 block of Menchaca Street, which is not far from Culebra Road and St. Mary's University.
According to San Antonio Fire Department Chief Charles Hood, firefighters arrived at the scene to find the two-story house fully-involved by what he called a "very labor intensive fire."
Hood said three structures in all burned, since one of the homes had a single-story structure behind it. The cause of the fire is not currently not known.
“My mom’s friend came knocking at the door and she said, ‘Fire! Fire!’ So I got up -- I didn’t have my pants on -- it was just, like, shorts. The wind and the air and everything made it go real fast," said Joseph Tristan, one of the homeowners who lives with his mother and sister. “I am still in shock. I can’t believe it. You see it on the news and all of that, but it is the last thing you would think would happen. I never imagined that could happen, but it can happen to anybody."
Hood said the structures were very old and close together, and said they were very fortunate the fire did not spread to several other homes on the block.
"We had wind gusts of more than 25 mph, with wind being a factor in this fire," he said.
According to the San Antonio Fire Department website, as many as 29 fire units originally answered the call.
Hood said two women were being treated for smoke inhalation and it is unclear if they will go to the hospital. The rest of the families were not hurt.
The fire chief said that due to the extent of the damage, he doubts if anyone will ever live there again.
"The two-story house actually belongs to one of our own San Antonio Fire Department paramedic's family. They've been there since the '60s and their house received a massive amount of damage," he said.
Though Tristan’s 88-year-old mother had to be treated for smoke inhalation, he said he is happy everyone, including his pets, are still alive.
“That is the best part, because material things can be replaced, but you can’t replace somebody’s life,” Tristan said.
Arson investigators have been called to determine the cause of the fire. The Red Cross will assist with the families.