Sister of boys burned in go-kart fire recounts moments before incident

SAN ANTONIO – A 15-year-old is now undergoing therapy and an 11-year-old is still in the intensive care unit after a fire that badly burned them broke out earlier this month on the Southeast Side.

San Antonio fire officials said the fire started after they tried to put gas inside a go-kart in a garage.

Alondra Hernandez, the two brothers’ sister, said it all happened so fast.

“We were outside in the back fixing the go-karts, and we had just finished,” Hernandez said. “Only thing it needed was gas, and then we were going to take them to the park and go ride them.”

She said she wanted to get everyone some food first.

“We got hungry, and we were hot and had been outside all day, so my husband and I were going to get us all something to eat,” Hernandez said.

She said she told the boys to wait at home while they went down the street for food.

“We told them to just wait here and do not do nothing until we get back,” Hernandez said. “They got impatient. By the time we were in the line, we hadn't even ordered yet, and my sister called me and was telling me, ‘I have been calling you!’ I was like, ‘What happened?’ She was like, ‘Well, we are taking the boys to the hospital.’ She said the house was on fire, and I was thinking, ‘I was just there. We just left them.’ All I could think about was my brothers.”

Hernandez said she went straight to the hospital.

“They were trying to get gas out of a truck that was in the garage that we don’t use that much,” Hernandez said. “They were using a water hose that had been cut to move the gas from the truck to the go-kart.”

She said when she got to the hospital, she was heartbroken.

“They were bandaged up, and my little brother was in a coma,” Hernandez said through tears. “My older brother was saying he was fine, but I think he was just sedated. He was just worried about our little brother because he was the one that stayed behind in the fire and had to run through the fire to get out.”

Hernandez said the 11-year-old is still suffering from third-degree burns on the majority of his body, but even through it all, she said, he still hasn’t lost his personality.

“They are really good kids,” Hernandez said. “They help out and listen. They are very sweet and overprotective. They are good boys.”

She said her favorite memories involve simply talking.

“When we sit down and talk, it is just the stuff we talk about,” Hernandez said. “They come up with the craziest things, and they will keep you laughing all day. You sit down with them and don’t realize it has been three to four hours.”

Hernandez said the children love being outside.

“They like riding their bikes around and the go-karts. They loved helping dad with fixing his truck. They loved mechanical work. You ask them anything about a vehicle, and they could tell you how to fix it,” Hernandez said. “With this that has happened, hopefully it will show others that even though it can be fun and games when you are dealing with vehicles and stuff like this, you have to be very careful.”

Both boys are still recovering in Galveston. Hernandez said their father has not left their side.

“Dad is doing well, but he is staying strong for them,” Hernandez said. “He just wants to be there with them, especially after their mom left them when they were little.”

Hernandez said the family is also dealing with a lot of damage done to their furniture from the fire, even though it was contained to the garage.

“The firefighters sprayed to the roof and walls to make sure the fire didn’t spread,” Hernandez said. “Everything got wet. Our furniture was soaked. Since we couldn’t be here, mold is growing now. The smoke smell got into everything. All of our clothes were damaged.”

The family is now hoping a plate sale will help with some of the expenses.

“The money will go to help with the house and my older brother’s medical bills,” Hernandez said. “My youngest (brother) is on Medicaid, so he is covered, but my older brother is not. The money will also go to helping my dad, because he will be out of work for about a year.”

The plate sale will take place from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. at 5914 Old Pearsall Road. There, they will sell food and drinks for children and adults.

“We don’t have a dollar amount,” Hernandez said. “Anything helps. More importantly, we just want prayers.”

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