Elderly woman dies at hospital after being rescued from house fire

Woman ID'd as Francis Kirchner, 92


SAN ANTONIO – A 92-year-old woman who was rescued early Tuesday morning from a burning home on the city's NE Side has died at the hospital, according to the Bexar County Medical Examiner's Office.

The fire was reported at a home in the 5800 block of Oak Run around 5:40 a.m.

San Antonio Fire Department Chief Charles Hood said the victim's son, a 64-year-old man, managed to escape the burning home after trying to alert his mother, who was identified as Francis Kirchner.

Hood said firefighters were able to find Kirchner and pull her out of the home after battling through heavy smoke.

Kirchner was in critical condition, suffering from a severe case of smoke inhalation, and was rushed to Northeast Methodist Hospital, where she later died.

There was no update on the condition of the man, who was also taken by ambulance to a hospital for treatment. 

Arson investigators arrived after daylight to begin taking pictures and looking for clues about the cause of the fire.  


San Antonio arson investigators are trying to find the cause of a house fire that left an elderly woman and her son suffering from smoke inhalation.

Firefighters were alerted to the fire shortly after 5:30 a.m. Tuesday and quickly found out that the woman still was trapped inside the home.

Her son, 64, had managed to escape the home on his own.

“He states he did hear smoke detectors going off. He tried to alert his mom, was unable to. He had to crawl out of the garage doors,” said Chief Charles Hood, with the San Antonio Fire Department.

Neighbors, at first, tried to come to the family’s aid.

Hood said they attempted to get the woman out through her bedroom window but were pushed back by fire and thick smoke.

Firefighters later went in and were able to rescue her.

“It took us about five or six minutes to locate a 92-year-old female ... (who) was removed. She was in respiratory arrest at the time,” Hood said.

The woman suffered a severe case of smoke inhalation.

She was in critical condition when she was rushed to a hospital, firefighters said.

Her son, who also had breathed in a lot of smoke, stayed behind to make sure their dog was safe.

He later was taken by ambulance to a hospital for treatment.

Firefighters, meanwhile, stayed behind and tried to save their home.

Although it appeared almost untouched from the front side, Hood said the fire caused significant damage to the rear.

“The back of the house is basically gone. The roof structure is gone on this house,” he said.

Arson investigators arrived after daylight to begin taking pictures and looking for clues about the cause of the fire.

As of late Tuesday morning, they were still at the scene, working on the case.

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