Fire victims escape just in time as flames consume house, trailer

SAN ANTONIO – It seems that mere seconds made all the difference for people who were in the path of a fire that started in a home just southwest of downtown early Thursday morning.

The fire broke out around 4:30 a.m. inside a home in the 200 block of Elmo Avenue.

RELATED: SW Side home without working utilities destroyed by fire; nearby travel trailer heavily damaged, SAFD says

Jennifer Espinosa said she was asleep inside a travel trailer, parked in the driveway of that home, when her husband suddenly smelled smoke.

“Had he not woken me up when he did, and had we not gotten out of there, we would have been stuck in that trailer,” she said. “It engulfed that quickly.”

The couple grabbed what they could and made a quick escape. They also stopped to check on their neighbor who had been staying inside the home where the fire started.

As it turned out, that woman had not been inside the home since late Wednesday afternoon, Espinosa said.

The neighbor told them she had slept outside because she was unable to open her front gate. San Antonio firefighters who arrived on the scene, at first, thought the home was vacant.

“It had burglar bars on it, no power, no electricity, no gas,” said Battalion Chief Russell Johnson with SAFD. “But recently, I heard that the homeowner was living in there.”

Johnson said it seems “suspicious” that the fire broke out in a home with no working utilities.

He said in addition to destroying the home and trailer, the fire also damaged the outsides of two other homes next door. “I mean everything we had is what we lost in (the trailer),” Espinosa said. “As long as we got out with our lives, that’s more important.”

Finding the cause of the fire appeared to be especially important to fire investigators.

They sifted through ash and soot, looking for clues.

As of late Thursday morning, though, they still had not determined how the fire started, according to a public information officer with SAFD.

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