Couple questions response time in Leon Valley fatal fire

Chanelle Reyes, 31, dies as a result of apartment fire

LEON VALLEY - A couple who witnessed a deadly fire around 1 a.m. Saturday at the Forest Oaks Apartments wonders if an ambulance could have responded sooner.

"Since that day we've still been thinking about it," said the man, who did not want to be identified.

They were sitting outside after a 4th of July celebration when the fire began at the complex at 6313 Evers Road.

The pair say they saw an injured woman stumble out of the apartments and across the street where she fell to the ground, asking for help.

"You could tell by the way she was asking, she was in pain and was screaming," he said.

Chanelle Reyes, 31, later died.

"It took about 45 minutes for the first one (ambulance) to arrive," said the man. "I know it was that long … the cop kept asking for EMS and kept calling - three or four times we heard it."

Leon Valley Fire Department Chief Luis Valdez did not dispatch a city ambulance to the scene that night.

That would have left two fewer firefighters available to fight the flames, he said, because the city does not have a separate firefighter and EMT staff.

Of the 26 firefighters employed by LVFD, six were on duty that night.

"It was a fully occupied complex with 40 buildings," said Valdez. "We responded with six firefighters with everything we have to perform rescue on a very large fire in a building that was fully occupied with people."

Valdez did call for help from Balcones Heights, Castle Hills and Helotes. Shavano Park and private ambulance company, Acadian, sent ambulances.

An Acadian spokesperson says the company received the call at 1:18 a.m. and arrived on scene first at 1:33 a.m.

"We called in as soon as possible as many resources as we could," said Valdez.

The Bexar County fire marshal is assisting in the investigation to determine what caused the fire.

"That's what's (been) bugging both of us is -- what if she could've got to the hospital earlier," said the witness.

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