SAN ANTONIO - A business owner who lost almost everything in the four-alarm Ingram Square fire that claimed the life of firefighter Scott Deem exactly one year ago got the opportunity to see what was left of the clinic.
The fire destroyed Cruz Jimenez’s physical therapy clinic that he opened 14 years ago.
Since the fire, Jimenez has driven by his business many times to collect what was left, but he hadn’t been able to peer in until recently.
“It looked like the walls were crying black tears,” he said.
The sight of Jimenez’s gutted physical therapy clinic was too much to handle for him.
“It was just hard. I mean, we were supposed to be here cleaning,” Jimenez said.
Jimenez said he thinks about what would have happened if he had been there the night of the fire, if he hadn’t decided to clean in the morning instead. He also thinks about Deem.
“The firemen were kicking in the back, my office door, because I always left my office light on. So when they saw that light, they thought someone was in the office,” Jimenez said.
Jimenez said he has found a way to move on with his business.
“We were able to see patients in their houses, so that's what I've been doing now,” he said.
Now, everything Jimenez uses for work has to fit inside his van. He has to lug a total gym, an ultrasound machine, a massage table and lots of rehab equipment.
Jimenez said he can’t afford to hire someone to help him right now, but he hopes to be able to buy a small office and run his business the way he used to.
Three of the business owners who had businesses next to Jimenez's — a hair salon, nail salon and driving school — have relocated around the corner.
During the lengthy investigation into the fire, the fire marshal determined the fire was set intentionally.
Emond Johnson has been charged with arson, two charges of arson causing bodily injury, a charge of arson causing death and a charge of murder in connection with the fire. His trial is set for June 8.
Johnson owned the Spartan Box Gym, where investigators said the fire was set.
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