SAN ANTONIO – Three generations of the South Side family were forced to leave their house because of the fire and are now trying to put it back together.
The fire broke out on December 30 at a house in the 2900 block of Desag Street, involving KSAT family member, Texas A&M-San Antonio journalism intern and student Sara Cervera.
Servera lives in the house with her mother, two younger sisters and an 87-year-old aunt.
“TThe last couple of days have been extremely overwhelming. This belongs to my elderly aunt and we have lived here all our lives,” Servera said. “We are just four girls and have owned this property for over 80 years. It was passed down to her from my grandfather.”
The fire started in a detached barn and quickly spread to the pantry and back of the main house. Cervera’s room was destroyed, but the front of the house survived. The San Antonio Fire Department estimated property damage at over $44,000.
Cervera said the couple, who were near the Espada mission, noticed smoke coming from the back of the house and rushed to inform the family.
“I immediately felt the flames and saw the barn burning. I grabbed my computer in my bag, my dog and my other hand. I ran out and helped my aunt because she doesn’t walk well,” Servera said. “I broke down in the yard and just sat on the ground, and the fireman told me, ‘You have to move.
“I ran out when the house flooded. I immediately ran after my daughters and told my 8 year old, “Just go get out.” If not for this gracious couple, we would not have survived,” said Sarah Vidal, Cervera’s mother.
The recovery and cleanup process is further complicated by the fact that Servera said her family did not have homeowner’s insurance.
“We have to try to find a way to do this with the help of other organizations, or even on our own, which will be very difficult,” Servera said.
The American Red Cross in Greater San Antonio last year helped more than 1,100 people whose homes were either damaged or destroyed by fire.
The American Red Cross said that lack of homeowner’s insurance is not one of the criteria for receiving assistance, but many families experience this after a fire.
“I hope and pray that there are organizations that can help. I tried and my daughter tried to help by looking for so many. We just came across a lot of brick walls,” Vidal said.
Servera said she will continue to seek help and work to restore the front of the house.
She rescued several valuable items from her bedroom, including the Virgen de Guadalupe medal that her boyfriend found in the rubble.
“I take her with me everywhere, everywhere, and I firmly believe that she saved us,” Servera said. “I received it at the time of confirmation, as well as a promise ring and a high school ring. I was able to get it out of my room.”
Servera said she is grateful for saving these items, but the safety and health of her family and mother is most important.
“My family has always been my priority and I don’t want them to be homeless. My mom is my everything. I wouldn’t have been able to get an internship and go to college if she wasn’t always pushing me and telling me, “It’s okay,” saying, “I know we’re in poverty, but one day, mom, you’re going to be the one who save us and get us out,” said Servera. “I want to make sure I can deliver on that promise to her, which is why when that fire happened, I felt so defeated. I felt like everything I had worked for up to this point was just one failure after another. But getting my family and my mom back on track is my number one priority right now.”
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