An 84-year-old man, Pascual Tamez, is dead after an early-morning house fire on the east side. It happened at his home across from Highland Park Elementary School.
His nieces say they considered Tamez a father and say that he spent his time caring for his elder sisters. His nieces learned about the fire while watching the news.
"[I was] just hoping that it wasn't his house because they said there was a man trapped trying to get out and he's a single man and I was concerned it might be him," Elizabeth Tamez-Buffenbarger said..
They found out soon after that their uncle hadn't made it out of the house alive. Tamez served 27 years in the Air Force, retiring from Kelly Air Field. His nieces say that he loved roller skating, dancing, photography, and his church.
The youngest of 13 children, his nieces say that he was the caretaker of his family.
"His whole life was dedicated to taking care of my grandmother when she passed away and now he's taking care of his sisters," Tamez-Buffenbarger said.
Tamez spent his last days going to coffee with his sister, who lived in his neighborhood, and also took two buses to visit his other sister and take her to doctor's appointments.
"He lived a good Christian life and I know he's in a better place and I hope to see him someday soon," said Yolanda Cates, Tamez's niece. "Also, keep the family in prayer especially for the older sisters because it's going to be a hardship for them to manage without him."
Investigators say that they don't know exactly what caused the fire but believe that it started at the back of his house, where he had lived for over 30 years.