‘They were beautiful souls’: Family grieving loss of mother, grandchildren killed in massive fire

Family identifies victims in Von Ormy fire as Vanessa Ortega, 39, Mia Oyervides, 3, Ezekiel Oyervides, 1

SAN ANTONIO – A Southwest Side family is grieving after a fire Sunday morning claimed the lives of three beloved family members.

The fire happened early Sunday morning in Von Ormy in the 100 block of Blue Lilly Drive near the Atascosa County-Bexar County line.

The family identified the victims as 39-year-old Vanessa Ortega and her two grandchildren, 3-year-old Mia Oyervides and 1-year-old Ezekiel Oyervides.

“I lost my daughter, they lost her mother and we lost our great-grandchildren. It was devastating for us,” said Esmeralda Zapata, Vanessa’s mother and children’s grandmother.

The family had just seen Vanessa and the children at a family get-together on Saturday. Hours later, they found out they had lost all three.

“I just screamed out and got on my knees and just cried in disbelief,” said Joe Zapata, Vanessa’s father and children’s grandfather.

Atascosa County fire officials said the trailer home was filled with heavy smoke and flames when crews arrived at the scene around 3:30 a.m.

The fire marshal said crews were not able to get inside because of the intensity of the flames.

An investigation is underway into how the fire started and a cause has not been released by Atascosa fire officials.

“She tried to save her grandbabies. I know that she did. I know that from the bottom of my heart,” said Alice Ortega, Vanessa’s sister.

The family said Vanessa opened her home to anyone that needed help and was often the life of the party.

“She made us all laugh. There wasn’t a dull moment with my sister. She made us smile,” said Ortega.

Adding to their grief, Joe Zapata said Mia was going to turn 4 years old on Monday.

“They were beautiful souls, we’re going to miss them tremendously,” said Joe Zapata.

“We had special moments with those children and it’s really hard,” said Esmeralda Zapata.

The family is thankful for everyone that has reached out in support. They are raising money for three funerals and holding onto their faith to get them through.

“I don’t wish this to happen to any other family, to anybody. They didn’t have a chance in that fire,” said Ortega.

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RJ Marquez is the traffic anchor/reporter for KSAT’s Good Morning San Antonio. He also fills in as a news anchor and has covered stories from breaking news and Fiesta to Spurs championships and high school sports. RJ started at KSAT in 2010. He is proud to serve our viewers and be a part of the culture and community that makes San Antonio great.

William Caldera has been at KSAT since 2003. He covers a wide range of stories including breaking news, weather, general assignments and sports.

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