Community members work to help women living in decommissioned house hit by fire

SAN ANTONIO The community is coming together to support a woman, her four cats and other former residents whose homes were declared uninhabitable after last week’s fire in the northern part of the city.

Mary Lou Sandoval has been living in an uninhabitable apartment for a week now.

Last Tuesday, a fire severely damaged the West Lullwood and San Pedro four-unit building. The building has water but no electricity.

“Well, everything’s fine inside, except it’s cold now,” said Mary Lou Sandoval. “Only plain water, cold. You can’t warm him up because we don’t have heat.”

Three other tenants of the four-unit building are currently living with friends or family. Although they too have been displaced, they have a sense of responsibility for the elderly Sandoval.

“We’re always trying to make sure she has what she needs and is taken care of, so it’s a shame she’s here, but we just don’t have the funds and we really don’t know what to do.” said Kimberly Bemrich, one of Sandoval’s neighbors down the hallway.

Bemrich explained that Sandoval has no relatives, but the area is like her family.

In the short time that KSAT spent with Sandoval, several people came to check on her. One person helped her up the porch and made a list of things to buy her, another stopped to ask if she needed toilet paper or paper towels, and another person gave her Tupperware with food.

Bemrich said she did not know how long the residents of the area would be able to sustain this assistance.

“I want you to be safe, Mary Lou, and healthy and warm and warm water and a refrigerator and a microwave,” Bemrich said, talking to Sandoval.

Bemrich hopes to find a place for Sandoval and her four cats, or children, as Sandoval calls them.

“With my coffee, crackers and kids, I’ll be fine. I just want to say thank you so much and thank Jesus for keeping us alive,” Sandoval said.

Bemrich and other former residents of the four-story building began GoFundMe. She tells us that the funds will go to help all four displaced people, but the priority is to give Sandoval a place to live.

KSAT contacted the Red Cross to see what help or advice they could provide; We’re waiting for answer. We have also contacted Christian Relief Ministries, who are now in contact with Bemrich and Sandoval.

Copyright 2023 by KSAT – All rights reserved.

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