SAN ANTONIO – Alarm clocks took a backseat to the sound of fire engine sirens when it came to waking up guests at a Northeast Side motel early Friday morning.
Most of them also heard either San Antonio firefighters or staff members at the Quality Suites banging on their doors, trying to alert them to the danger.
“Units arrived and found fire on the third floor. It appears the fire was in the attic,” said Fire Chief Charles Hood. “We did have to go room by room. A lot of people, as you can imagine, at 4:40 in the morning, they’re in a dead sleep.”
All 19 people who had spent the night at the motel made it out safely.
Two were checked out by paramedics for possible smoke inhalation but did not require hospitalization, Hood said.
Before fire crews were able to put out the fire, flames had spread into some of the rooms on the third floor of the motel, located near Interstate 35, just south of O’Connor Road.
Larry Kendrick, in town from Nebraska for a medical appointment, says he woke up after smelling the smoke, himself, in his room.
He then woke up his wife, who initially tried to shrug it off.
“But it woke her up. She said, ‘Something is burning!’ And no alarms. We didn’t hear anything,” he said. “She ran out to the door. Smoke was in the hall.”
The couple had time only to grab a small bag and Kendrick’s cane.
Some motel guests left their rooms only with the clothes on their backs.
“Thank God, we’re safe. We’re all safe. That’s the main thing, you know?” Kendrick said.
Fire crews, meanwhile, spent roughly two hours pouring water on the fire and making sure it didn’t flare up again.
Later, they were able to go back into the building to retrieve the motel guests’ belongings.
The fire department also brought in a VIA Metropolitan Transit bus to offer the evacuees a place to rest temporarily.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation.