12 units destroyed, 4 dogs killed in apartment fire on NE Side

1 firefighter suffers minor injury in fire at Oasis at Oakwell Apartments

By David Ibanez - Web - Managing Editor, Japhanie Gray - Reporter, Garrett Brnger - Reporter

SAN ANTONIO - A three-alarm fire destroyed 12 units and heavily damaged the third floor of an apartment complex Friday afternoon on the city's Northeast Side.

The fire, at the Oasis at Oakwell apartments in the 1900 block of Northeast Loop 410, near the intersection of Harry Wurzbach and Ira Lee roads, was reported shortly after 3 p.m., San Antonio Fire Chief Charles Hood said.

“I was lying in bed and I started to smell smoke, so I opened my door and saw a bunch of smoke coming down from our vent,” resident Tristyn Klein said. “That is what told me to call 911.” 

Fifteen adults and an infant were accounted for, Hood said. 

None of the residents were injured, but one firefighter suffered a laceration to the head, Hood said. 

Four dogs were killed in the fire, including three that belonged to Shaquille Melendez.

"One's a puppy and we kept him in a kennel," Melendez said, choking back tears. "I saw the whole thing from the back by the pool. I came in and went straight off to my apartment. I asked a policeman or a fireman if my dogs were OK, or if my dogs, (if) they had seen them, and they said they had died."

Several other pets were missing and others were rescued, Hood said.

When firefighters arrived, a resident who lived in the third floor of the building reported that her oven was on fire, Hood said.

Sky 12 showed a large portion of the roof was damaged.

The cause doesn't appear to be suspicious, but no immediate cause was given.

Hood said the fire was a big challenge due to the warm weather and fires being hidden in the walls.

This is not the first time a fire has caused significant damage to the complex. Hood said a fire several years ago on Father's Day destroyed a building.

Residents living near the damaged building said they will do their best to help their neighbors get back on their feet. 

“My stomach is hurting. I just feel for these people. I just don’t know if their prized possessions are OK,” said Nina Gusman. “This could be all they have. I just hope, if they need anything, blankets, you name it, we will be there for them. We will even open up our apartments, because nobody should have to go through this.”

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