San Antonio family displaced after losing everything in devastating house fire

Their window air conditioning unit caught fire, setting their entire home ablaze

SAN ANTONIO – It was an ordinary day for Larry Lamkin and Monica Chavez until they noticed smoke barreling from the side of their home on Monday.

They were both in the backyard and out of the house, in the 700 block of Dunwoodie Drive, when they learned the new window air conditioning unit they installed had caught on fire, setting their entire home ablaze.

Lamkin and Chavez have two daughters, ages 5 and 13, who at the time of the fire were with family in Houston.

Now both parents said they are left trying to sort out the challenges they are up against before their girls come back.

“The hardest thing, they don’t have a home to come home to and, you know, as a provider, you know, that right there messes with me more than anything,” said Lamkin.

Lamkin said the loss of their family’s home is more sentimental than monetary. The house was built by his grandparents and has been passed down from generation to generation.

“I was born in this home and my mom was born in this house. This home belonged to my grandfather. They built this home 63 years ago,” said Lamkin.

Chavez is a full-time nursing student and Lamkin is in search of a new job. Unfortunately, their home didn’t have insurance at the time of the fire.

“You know, it’s just, it’s hard not knowing where we’re going to sleep. You know, the uncertainty of it is the heartbreaking part,” said Lamkin.

Lamkin and Chavez both said they don’t want to bring their two daughters back from Houston until they have everything figured out, as the fire has put them in financial hardship.

The couple was expecting to have their wedding in November, but those plans have been put on hold.

More on KSAT:

Northbound lanes of Highway 281 on San Antonio’s North Side reopen after RV fire

House fire on North Side under control, damages extensive, firefighters say

About the Authors:

Jonathan Cotto is a reporter for KSAT's Nightbeat. Jonathan speaks English and Spanish and is a veteran of the United States Navy. Previously, he worked in South Texas.

Chandler Watson is a photojournalist at KSAT 12. Originally from the Houston area, he graduated from Texas State University in 2018 with a bachelor’s of science in Mass Communication. Chandler is no stranger to San Antonio, as he’s worked here for 3 years prior to joining KSAT. He’s excited to bring you the stories of our community!