Family and pets escape South Side house fire

Neighbors knocked on doors to warn them that the house was on fire.

SAN ANTONIO — Late-night showering may have saved a family of four and all six pets from a nighttime South Side fire.

Krystal Pena said it was around 1 a.m. and they had just settled in for the night when neighbors at their shared duplex started knocking on doors to warn them the house was on fire.

Pena said that because they slept with the bedroom doors closed, they had no idea the back of the house was on fire, adding “I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. We got out so fast . He was already walking into the hallway.”

Pena said the rental house didn’t have smoke detectors, so the warning was a lifesaver.

With the people safe, they realized three of their dogs were trapped, so a family member went back inside and saved Possum, Chloe, and Chase from a smoky fate.

“He went back to get the dogs and the flame was already out. He couldn’t get out, so he had to knock on the window to get out,” Pena said.

When the firefighters arrived, they were able to put out the flames and save Cocabean the iguana and Panpan the rabbit.

Of the pet rabbit, Pena said, “He was terrified but we calmed him down.”

Pena said the Red Cross arrived with blankets and an offer of emergency aid, and neighbors next door gave them water and clothes.

“We were all in our nightgowns to go to bed,” Pena said, adding “It’s a bit difficult because that’s all we had.”

Pena said that having recently paid all their monthly expenses, they do not know where they will find a pile of money to move.

Pena said she was grateful her husband’s tools survived the fire so the family could move in and start rebuilding their lives.

She said that while they worked to figure things out, they would monitor the burnt remains of the house so that anything salvageable would not be stolen.

Pena said water and electricity were cut following the fire, so it won’t even be possible to clean up their surviving belongings.

Grateful that people and pets barely survived, Pena said she was grateful for life.

“We were blessed to come out of this alive,” Pena said.

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Raymond I. Langston