Residents at Vista del Rey Apartments outraged after fire destroys 12 apartments

Leon Valley firefighters were battling the flames, but neighbors said it wasn’t as easy for them to access the burning building

LEON VALLEY – An apartment fire in Leon Valley has left several families without a home and the people who live in that community said they are outraged.

Total chaos erupted at the Vista del Rey Apartments in Leon Valley on Tuesday as flames consumed four apartment units.

Smoke billowing from the complex could be seen from miles away.

“Me and my girlfriend, we were on our way home and we saw the smoke and we were like, that’s really close to where we live,” a resident said.

“We were actually 11 minutes away on the highway coming back when we saw smoke and the closer and closer we were getting, we were seeing that it was like darker and darker,” another resident said.

Leon Valley firefighters were battling the flames, but neighbors said it wasn’t as easy for them to access the burning building as it should have been.

“All the gates are locked -- there’s only two ways in and out. So, like, by the time they got here, like, it’s already halfway under,” a resident said.

Residents said they attempted to put out the fire with a water hose and their own fire extinguishers.

“So, we had to find a water hose there but no water pressure and then we took all these fire extinguishers by six, seven and couldn’t get it. So we, like, we just had to get everybody out,” a resident said.

The fire quickly spread to 12 units in total. Witnesses said property management didn’t allow the Red Cross on scene.

“That’s just shocking. That’s like saying the fire department can’t be here. Like, the Red Cross is here to help people, especially on like tragic events like this,” one resident said.

The fire caused devastation for those directly impacted.

Other tenants that were not affected by the flames said they’re concerned about staying.

“We were supposed to be moving in on the last building, 3906, before this all happened and we was actually scheduled to move in two days from now,” one resident said.

“I don’t really feel safe here and honestly, I really feel like signing a lease with this place was a huge mistake,” a resident said.

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About the Authors:

Jonathan Cotto is a reporter for KSAT’s Good Morning San Antonio. He’s a bilingual award-winning news reporter and he joined KSAT in 2021. Before coming to San Antonio, Cotto was reporting along the U.S.-Mexico border in South Texas. He’s a veteran of the United States Navy.

Adam Barraza is a photojournalist at KSAT 12 and an El Paso native. He interned at KVIA, the local ABC affiliate, while still in high school. He then moved to San Antonio and, after earning a degree from San Antonio College and the University of the Incarnate Word, started working in news. He’s also a diehard Dodgers fan and an avid sneakerhead.