Electrical problem suspected in fire that displaced family of 3

Smoke alarm credited for alerting family to fire

By Katrina Webber - Crime Fighters Reporter

SAN ANTONIO - An electrical problem is believed to be the cause of a fire that destroyed the home of a Northwest Side family of three.

A couple and a 4-year-old child were sleeping inside the home, in the 1800 block of Laven Drive, when the fire broke out around 5:30 a.m. Wednesday.

According to San Antonio Fire Department Battalion Chief Mark Black, a smoke detector alerted the family to the fire.

Black said the family had to make its escape through a back door because flames were blocking the front exit.

The fire tore through the middle section of the house and sent thick smoke skyward.

"When (firefighters) got the call and they opened the bay door to exit their station, they saw heavy smoke from that far off," Black said.

Ernest Gonzalez also rushed over to the neighborhood, thinking that his mother's house was on fire.

Instead, Gonzalez saw flames shooting from the house next door.

"It's sad. They've been there for a very long time," Gonzalez said. "There were all sorts of firemen there. They were trying to turn off the electricity, but you could see flames coming through the back and sides of the house."

While the people made it out safely, Black said the man who lived in the home nearly made a fatal mistake by going back inside for something. 

"He got disoriented," Black said. "Luckily, he was able to follow his wife's voice and get out of the house. Otherwise, he would've been trapped in there."

Black also made a point of highlighting the role smoke detectors played in keeping the entire family safe.

"We always tell people to check their smoke detector batteries," he said. "It's really important, because you don't know when it's going to save your life. These folks, here, they woke up because of their smoke detectors."

Firefighters also pulled the family's dog from the burning home.

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