SAN ANTONIO – People who live in a Northwest Side apartment complex found themselves running for their lives after fire erupted in one building early Tuesday morning.
The fire broke out in building number 17 of the complex, located in the 1300 block of Gardina.
Eventually it consumed all eight apartments in the building and threatened to damage others nearby.
“All of a sudden I heard, ‘boom, boom, boom’ at the neighbor’s house,” said Janie Ruiz. “(I heard people saying) ‘Fire! The building’s on fire!”
Ruiz, who actually lives two buildings away from the one that was burning, was concerned her home also would go up in flames.
She threw on some clothing, then jumped in her car while calling to warn neighbors along the way.
“The flames were, like, humongous. I mean, the building was just gushing on fire,” she said. “That was super scary. Oh my God. I was just shaking, praying to the Lord.”
Firefighters, meanwhile, were working to stop her fears from coming to fruition.
They fought to keep the fire from spreading to the buildings on either side of it.
Fire Chief Charles Hood arrived on scene and spoke to members of the media, saying that it appeared everyone living in the building made it out safely.
He said one man did have to be checked out by paramedics for minor smoke inhalation.
“We also have another pregnant female that is due to deliver tomorrow. And so she’s just excited by this,” Hood said.
That woman was taken to a hospital by ambulance as a precaution.
Two other people told KSAT12 they had to jump from their second floor balcony to escape the fire.
They did not appear to suffer any serious injuries.
Hood said it was too early to determine the cause of the fire.
Even after the flames were put out, he said there remained a danger from what was left of the building, itself.
An exterior wall, Hood said, was unstable as a result of the fire.
“That wall is leaning,” he said. “This is probably one of the most dangerous times for us as firefighters because of the instability of the building.”
Hood said, for now, firefighters would keep everyone away from the structure.
People who lived in the building, though, would not have been able to go home anyway.
All of the apartments have been destroyed.