Neighbors describe fire that killed two women at West Side apartment building

71-year-old and 29-year-old woman were killed in fire on Eldridge Avenue early Thursday morning

SAN ANTONIO – A 71-year-old woman and a 29-year-old woman died early Thursday morning after a fire broke out at an apartment building on the city’s West Side.

The Bexar County Medical Examiner’s Office released the names of the two victims -- 71-year-old Gloria Cortez and 29-year-old Amber Cortez. They were pronounced dead following a fire in the 4700 block of Eldridge Avenue.

Firefighters responded to the fire at 3 a.m. and found heavy smoke and flames coming from inside. Crews went inside and found both victims on the ground.

“They were right by the door. Both of them were unconscious and not breathing when we got here. So, CPR efforts were started for quite some time, but unfortunately they had just been exposed to too much smoke,” said Joe Arrington, SAFD spokesperson.

Neighbors were also forced to evacuate the building, but the fire was contained quickly and no other injuries were reported.

“I woke up and came outside to check and I looked around and I smelled wood burning,” said Ruben Garcia. “We all had to come out of the apartment, then I heard about them passing away in apartment three and I was really sad about it. She was a nice person.”

Other neighbors said Gloria was a woman of strong faith who opened her home to many family and friends. They also said they have not seen anything like this before.

“Nothing like this has ever happened here. It’s peaceful and more comfortable, we like everybody,” said Garcia.

The San Antonio Fire Department is still investigating what caused the fire and officials said it’s a reminder of what can happen during colder nights.

“I can’t stress enough the importance of heating your home safely, watching for space heaters, not using your stove to heat your home. Things we say every year, and here we are again,” said Arrington.

About the Authors:

RJ Marquez is co-host of KSAT News Now and reports for Good Morning San Antonio. He's been at KSAT since 2010 and covered a variety of stories and events across the San Antonio area. He also covers the Spurs for on-air and digital platforms, including his Spurs newsletter. RJ has reported stories for KSAT Explains.