SAN ANTONIO - In a home one day, in a shelter the next: That was the jarring reality for dozens of people who lost ever thing Monday after an inferno raced through an apartment near San Antonio International Airport.
"Fighting a wind-fed fire like that is like fighting a blow torch," said SAFD Chief Charles Hood during a Tuesday press conference.
The cause of the fire is under investigation. But Hood said that had the fire happened overnight, it could have been deadly.
"If you look at that green Civic, that was us right there, third floor," said Tony Bolin. Building 12 is gone.
Bolin is one of 80 residents of the Wood Hollow Apartments who are starting from square one.
"'The building's on fire!', I was telling my husband. 'The building's on fire!'" said a tearful Mary Ann Acosta.
Residents said within minutes the fire sparked-up, and the gusty wind made it difficult for fire crews to battle the flames.
"It just looked like a cloud had dropped down" Bolin recalled.
Bolin was at work and his wife at home. The only thing on his mind, he said, was her.
"That's what scared me. Honestly, all this can be replaced, but you can't replace a life," said Bolin.
Mary Ann Acosta and her husband had their belongings in boxes.
"We had just moved in," she said.
They only had seconds to escape the raging fire. All her life-long memories are now ashes.
"All my kids baby pictures," said Acosta, crying.
The residents who were displaced are receiving help from the American Red Cross. One woman was treated for smoke inhalation. The fire chief mentioned out of all the residents affected only one had renter's insurance.