A heroic act of bravery unfolded in San Antonio when a group of siblings rescued their family and pets from a devastating fire. The incident occurred in the 11400 block of Woollcott, where first responders, who happened to be in the area, spotted smoke emanating from a nearby neighborhood. Swiftly responding to the emergency, they discovered four children, the youngest of whom was just three months old, escaping the engulfed flames. Remarkably, these courageous youngsters managed to save four beloved pets in the process. Fortunately, no one sustained serious injuries in this heart-stopping ordeal.
According to officials from the San Antonio Fire Department (SAFD) who were present at the scene, the parents of these brave children were away at work when the fire ignited around 4 p.m. SAFD Battalion Chief Oscar Gonzalez commended the quick thinking and immediate action of the siblings, stating, “The thing that did go well is they exited the structure immediately.” Their heroic efforts also ensured the safety of the family’s two dogs, cat, and hamster.
The family suspects that their mischievous feline, named Smokey, accidentally started the fire by toppling over a lit candle. Nine-year-old Lylah Castillo, one of the siblings who managed to escape, explained, “(My older sister) lit it and she put it on the shelf and she walked away from like five seconds. It rolled on the books and it caught flames and it set our bed on fire. That’s how it exploded in flames.” The eldest child, Arianna, quickly sprang into action, leading the rescue mission. She recounted, “They ran into their room to get the hamster… We got all the dogs and animals, then went outside. Then I went back inside to look for a fire extinguisher.” Arianna, who is fifteen years old, then contacted her mother, Kathrine, who was about 45 minutes away at work. Seeking guidance, Kathrine asked, “Can you put it out with water? Did you find the fire extinguisher?” However, Arianna’s response painted a bleak picture, “No, the flames are too big. There’s too much smoke, I can’t see. I told her to get everybody and go to the front, calling 911.” Trapped by the flames, Arianna guided her family to safety through the backyard, where a fortuitous encounter with a neighbor, Sonia Sirio, provided the assistance they desperately needed. Sirio, who happened to be driving by, witnessed the distress of the family and promptly rushed to their aid, guiding them through the back gate to safety.
Meanwhile, fire crews arrived at the scene, battling the ferocious flames that burst through a window at the front of the house. The intensity of the fire was evident, with smoke billowing from all sides. The devastating aftermath left young Lylah distraught, clutching back tears as she lamented the loss of her favorite Squishmallow toy, “My favorite Squishmallow… my mom gave me a big rainbow octopus and it burned.” Kathrine, the children’s mother, expressed her profound sadness, stating, “Everything in our home is destroyed. We unfortunately lost everything.” Although currently staying with relatives, the Castillos have received immense support from their neighbors, who have generously contributed supplies to help them through this difficult time. Additionally, a GoFundMe page has been established to aid the family in rebuilding their lives.
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