12-year-old rescues grandmother, pet from house fire on far West Side

Because the home is so special to the family, they hope to rebuild it in the future

San Antonio – A San Antonio grandmother and her grandson are thanking their guardian angel for saving their lives from a fire Saturday afternoon.

It happened at a two-story home on Cliff Creek.

Cynthia Sanchez, the homeowner, has been living at the home for 17 years.

She said she had been doing yardwork all day before the fire happened.

“I was taking a nap when all of a sudden Elijah came to tell me we didn’t have power,” Sanchez said. “The next moment he was screaming for me to get up and get out. We heard an explosion and I grabbed my daughter’s ashes, and he grabbed the dog and we ran.”

Elijah Woodberry, 12, said he was playing his video game.

He had no idea he would become a hero.

“The breaker just, boom, it was out,” he said. “So, I was looking around and I see orange from the door. I went out and I saw flames by the AC and I was freaked out by that and I started screaming, ‘Grandma! Grandma! We got to get out! We got to go!’”

The home was all Elijah has ever known.

“It is devastating,” Sanchez said. “You never know until you go through it. I am just grateful and thankful. This is material stuff. I am glad that we got out with our lives.”

Despite losing everything, the family still smiles.

“We can rebuild,” Sanchez said. “This home is special to us because my daughter lived here with me before she passed and it is where Elijah grew up. He has all of his friends here and he loves the school so we are staying. We are OK and strong in our faith. We will be fine. We have been through a lot.”

By a lot, she means losing her daughter, Jennifer Flores, to cancer three and a half years ago.

They believe she is the one who gave Elijah strength.

“She just kept pushing me,” Elijah said. “I wanted to be my grandmother’s hero and she gave me that moment.”

“I just owe it to God,” Sanchez said.

Since the fire, the family has had an army of support from neighbors and will be staying with other family members until they can get back on their feet.

They say they are beyond grateful for the help and ask for prayers as they work through this devastating loss.

“Thank you all the neighbors and if you are a neighbor of someone who might be going through this, just help out and get something done,” Elijah said. “You could be like a hero like me you know. Just stay out there and help out.”

“Truly trust in the Lord,” Sanchez said. “Just don’t give up and know that he is with you all the time. Like Elijah said, when we speak about my daughter, I get deep chills. But I know she was with us. If it wasn’t for Elijah we’d be gone. I just thank God.”

If you would like to find out how you can help the family, you can contact sanchezcynthia59@yahoo.com.

About the Authors:

Japhanie Gray joined 10 News as an anchor in March 2022.

Joe Arredondo is a photojournalist at KSAT 12.