San Antonio man recounts rescuing woman from fire in homeless camp

Jason Harriman found woman covered in burns

San Antonio man recounts rescuing woman from fire in homeless camp
San Antonio man recounts rescuing woman from fire in homeless camp

SAN ANTONIO – A former airman and combat veteran said his military training came in handy when he stumbled upon a woman who had been burned in a fire at a homeless camp on the Northwest side of San Antonio.

Jason Harriman first noticed signs of trouble last Thursday morning as he sat in the drive-thru line of a bank near Loop 1604 and Culebra Road.

Across the highway, he could see a cloud of black smoke.

Curiosity made him get closer and investigate.

“I kind of came around and checked it out,” he said. “That’s when I saw the woman standing here.”

The fire broke out within an area of heavy brush in what appeared to be a homeless camp. (KSAT 12 News)

The woman apparently had been living in the area of thick brush which, for some reason, went up in flames.

Harriman said she appeared to be in shock and suffering from burns across half her back.

“I went in there because she wasn’t moving, and I put my arm around her and tried to guide her out,” he said. “That’s when I felt the burnt skin.”

Unidentified woman rescued from fire waits for help from paramedics, (KSAT 12 News)

Because the woman also had burns on her feet, Harriman ended up putting her over his shoulder and carrying her out.

He said he stayed with her until firefighters and paramedics arrived.

Other people, meanwhile, had shown up with fire extinguishers and tried unsuccessfully to put out the fire.

On Monday morning, Harriman made his first trip back to the site, still trying to wrap his mind about what happened.

Charred personal items are scattered among the ashes of what used to be a homeless camp. (KSAT 12 News)

He said at the time he didn’t think. He only did what came naturally, thanks to his military training.

Harriman also believes there was a bit of divine intervention at work.

“I just happened to be here. God told me, ‘Hey, go check it out,” he said.

The woman was taken to a hospital for treatment.

Although the San Antonio Fire Department confirmed that it responded to the fire, a spokesman was not able to offer an update on the condition of the woman.


About the Authors:

Katrina Webber was born and raised in Queens, NY, but after living in Gulf Coast states for the past decade, she feels right at home in Texas.

Tim has been a photojournalist and video editor at KSAT since 1998. He came to San Antonio from Lubbock, where he worked in TV and earned his bachelor's degree in Electronic Media and Communication from Texas Tech University. Tim has won a handful of awards and has earned a master's in Strategic Communication and Innovation from Tech as well.