Neighbor recalls waking up to fire next door, seeing damage to own home

Everyone in both homes safely escaped fire

A man who lives next door to a home that burned says he woke up to find part of his own home on fire.

SAN ANTONIO – When he went inside his own home to sleep, Ruben Castillo says he never imagined the bonfire he saw his neighbors building in their backyard would come back to haunt him.

Around 11:30 p.m. Sunday, it did though.

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“My surveillance cameras, they just kept going off,” she said. “I woke up to check them and I noticed the back of the house was on fire.”

Castillo quickly got his family up and out of their home and noticed the neighbors in the burning home had done the same.

When San Antonio firefighters arrived in the 300 block of Vine Street, the flames already were shooting through the roof.

They put out the fire but not before it had destroyed the home where it started.

Castillo’s home also took a heated hit.

“The window was shattered. A part of the house, it caught on fire as well,” he said.

Some of the surveillance cameras that had warned him about the fire also melted.

At the home next door, everything but one bedroom was gutted, according to the man who lived there.

He told KSAT 12 News he started the backyard bonfire as a way for him and his friends to keep warn.

The unidentified man, who said he had lived in his family’s home for the past 50 years, was unable to say how the fire spread.

“We noticed the (bonfire) before we laid down,” Castillo said. “They started the bonfire and we were just, like, “Ok, you know, they’re back there.”

Castillo said he never imagined he would wake up to a raging house fire that also threatened his own home.

The man who owns the home where the fire started told KSAT 12 News that he did not have insurance and had no idea how repairs to his home or Castillo’s home would be done.

About the Authors:

Katrina Webber joined KSAT 12 in December 2009. She reports for Good Morning San Antonio. Katrina 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. It's not unusual to find her singing karaoke or leading a song with her church choir when she's not on-air.