Co-workers say man injured in NW side apartment fire was son of woman killed in blaze

As Jesse Wadley recovers, his neighbors are finding temporary places to live

By Courtney Friedman - VJ, Reporter

SAN ANTONIO - Ten families are now without homes after a fire ravaged their apartment building on the Northwest Side Monday night.

The fire killed a 68-year-old woman and injured two others at the Ashler Oaks Apartments off Datapoint  Drive and Wurzbach Road.

Officials have not released the names of the victims yet, but a couple told KSAT News that one of the people injured is Jesse Wadley, the son of the woman killed. They said Wadley has worked with them for more than 12 years.

The couple visited Wadley on Tuesday in the hospital and said 18 percent of his body is burned from trying to save his mother. They said he will be going into surgery Wednesday.

As Wadley struggles to recover, his neighbors struggle to find a place to live.

Baby Elena, who's 2 months old, was cradled in her mother's arms safe and sound and giggled at the KSAT camera during an interview, but her mom, Gentri Birch, is still finding it hard to smile, thinking about the fire that killed her next door neighbor.

"Me and my husband were watching TV in the living room and we just heard somebody outside screaming for help, and we opened the door and my husband told me, 'Go grab the baby. It's on fire,'" she said.

She ran outside with Elena and her two other children.

Her apartment is not gutted like four of her neighbors' homes, but most of her possessions have smoke damage.

The American Red Cross got to the scene around midnight Monday, about two hours after the fire started.

Volunteers brought the victims bare necessities such as water, blankets and comfort kits full of washcloths, toothpaste and things they needed immediately.

The Red Cross then provided financial assistance for the families to buy clothes and stay in hotels.

"Each family is going to have different needs. There's varying sizes of families. Last night, we met with roughly around seven. And at this point, we know of 10 that need assistance, so there's just a couple more we're going to meet with. The seven families, that was about 24 people total that we assisted," said Libby Castillo, communications director of Red Cross Greater San Antonio Chapter.

Castillo has not heard from the Ashler Oaks apartment complex, but said that in similar fires, complexes are good about relocating families.

Anyone who has been been affected by the Ashler Oaks fire and still needs assistance is asked to call 210-224- 5151.

To donate to the Red Cross, visit www.redcross.org\donate and choose which chapter the donation will go to. The Greater San Antonio Chapter covers 13 counties across the region. 

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