Southwest Side family must plan three funerals following deaths of father, daughters

Carbon monoxide filled home, San Antonio fire officials say

By Jessie Degollado - Reporter, Bill Caldera - Photojournalist

SAN ANTONIO - A Southwest Side family said it is struggling to pay for three funerals following the deaths of Thomas Cavazos, who was in his 50s, and his two youngest daughters, 9-year-old Leeann and 11-year-old Hailey.

The three were found dead Monday evening at a home in the 100 block of Evandale Street, where according to a family member, Cavazos and his daughters had been staying with a friend until the friend moved out recently.

Moses Madrigal, who lives next door, said Cavazos had previously mentioned past-due utility bills.

“My dad’s very blunt. He would say if they didn’t have light. He would have mentioned something and he didn’t,” said Veronica Cavazos Cortez, one of Cavazos’ older daughters.

After the friend who was renting the house moved out, Madrigal said, Cavazos and the girls stayed behind.

Cavazos Cortez said when her father asked her to borrow her gas generator, he told her it was to power the tools he was using for handyman jobs at Canyon Lake. But since the generator wasn’t working, her father said he’d try to fix it.

Madrigal said he saw Cavazos working on it, never thinking he would take it inside.

Making the situation even harder to bear, Cavazos Cortez said, “He’s worked with tools his whole life. He has more common sense than that.”

She said she believes perhaps her father brought the generator inside to keep anyone from stealing it.

When emergency crews arrived to the home Monday, they said the generator was turned on but wasn’t working, filling the house with carbon monoxide.

Cavazos Cortez said it’s heartbreaking to know their father didn’t reach out to her for help.

“He has three girls. We all have a house. They could have stayed with us,” she said.

But as to why Cavazos never told his family of his dire circumstances, Cavazos Cortez said, “I have no idea. Maybe he could have been ashamed. I don’t know.”

In a statement, a spokeswoman for CPS Energy said the following:

“Yesterday’s tragedy is unfortunate and heartbreaking for family members and this community. We express our sincere condolences for this loss."

However, due to customer privacy concerns, CPS Energy could not confirm whether the power had been shut off to the home on Evandale.

LINK: Generator Safety tips from CPS Energy

LINK: CPS Energy Customer Assistance Program

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