‘You’re going to make it’: Elderly residents rescued by firefighters recall their frightening experience

2 people were hospitalized and in critical condition after the fire

SAN ANTONIO – Residents at the Blanco Apartments are still shaken up after a fire broke out on the third floor, causing at least 72 people to be displaced Wednesday.

The San Antonio Fire Department said a mattress on the third floor sparked the fire and caused a lot of smoke to build up to the third and fourth floors of the complex.

Teresa Belton was one of several people, including a 98-year-old woman, who was rescued from the third floor and their balconies.

“He said, ‘Ma’am, you’re gonna make it. You got to make it, man. We can die.’ He said we can die up here,” Belton recalled.

SAFD reported two people were taken to the hospital in critical condition, but most of the residents were able to make it out safely.

“We’re grateful. And, you know, there were no other injuries, you know, and just praise the Lord,” Blanco apartment resident Alma Coronado said.

Opportunity Home, the city’s housing authority, owns the complex and said it could take up to two weeks before people can return to their homes.

Many of the people we spoke to said they are still waiting to be able to get their belongings from inside.

Carol, a resident, said she’s worried about her cat.

“I got to go out and change her litter. I got you know, she’s stressed out as it is,” Carol said.

Red Cross is assisting people with toiletries and on an individual basis.

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About the Authors:

Camelia Juarez is a news reporter at KSAT 12. She joined the station in 2022. Camelia comes from a station in Lubbock, Texas. Now, she is back in her hometown. She received her degree from Texas State University. In her free time, Camelia enjoys thrifting, roller-skating and spending time with family and friends.

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