‘It felt like a thousand degrees’: Victim of NW Side apartment complex fire moving forward after total loss

About 20 families lost homes, possessions

SAN ANTONIO – Dawn Alleva said she’s been reliving last Sunday night in her head all week.

“The flames were thickening,” Alleva said. “The wind was blowing, and they were getting bigger.”

Alleva got out before a fire destroyed her apartment off Gus Eckert Road. She was one of about 20 families that lost their homes and possessions in an apartment fire.

San Antonio Fire Department still does not know what caused the fire. On Thursday, crews worked at the complex to demolish what was left of that building after the fire.

Alleva said it’s been hard to go back to what she called home.

“All of my photographs, my canvases of my grandchildren all over the house, are gone,” Alleva said.

Alleva’s two cats were not able to make it out before the floors above her apartment collapsed.

“Lily and Marilyn,” Alleva said. “I got Marilyn three months after I moved here in March of 2013.”

On the night of the fire, Alleva said after escaping her apartment, she sat in shock.

“Giant pieces of the roof were flying in the air in flames,” Alleva said. “All I could think was, ‘Why are all these firemen watching my building burn down?’”

SAFD confirmed on Sunday night that crews putting out the fire faced multiple issues, including a lack of water pressure from fire hydrants.

Now living with her daughter, Alleva said it’s been hard to accept that she doesn’t have a place to call home.

“I know that the minute I fill out my loss is when I will cry. And I’m not ready yet to do that,” Alleva said.

She said family and community support has helped her find ways to move forward.

“They’re here for me,” Alleva said. “No matter where we go, people were helping.”

About the Authors

Avery Everett is a news reporter and multimedia journalist at KSAT 12 News. Avery is a Philadelphia native. If she’s not at the station, she’s either on a hiking or biking trail. A lover of charcuterie boards and chocolate chip cookies, Avery’s also looking forward to eating her way through San Antonio, one taco shop at a time!

Joe Arredondo is a photojournalist at KSAT 12.

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