SAN ANTONIO — An extended family of 12 lost nearly everything in a fire the day before Thanksgiving, including their pet Chihuahua.
Now that the smoke has cleared at the west-side home, family members are mourning the loss of the little dog but are thankful everyone else made it out alive.
Delfina Galvan described what it was like in the frantic moments before they escaped. She said it seemed like a matter of seconds before flames raced through the entire house.
"...Hearing yelling, screaming, 'Get out of the house,' crying," she said.
Galvan's mother said in Spanish that her grandson woke them up screaming to get out of the house. There were no smoke detectors to warn the family.
"Nos desperto, gritandonos que se estaba quemando la casa," the grandmother said.
Moments before they escaped, a relative said his brother tried to douse some of the flames.
"A piece of ceiling fell and burned my brother's hand and his right back, part of his back."
After that, he said the fire was still growing and they got out as quickly as possible.
With the home and it contents left charred, the family sifted through a pile of photos, which are the only things left.
"Everybody got out safely. Only thing was lost was the little Chihuahua. They couldn't save her [because] they couldn't find her," said Anthony Castillo, a relative.
As the loss sinks in, community members are beginning to come out to offer help.
"Like they say, everybody came out alive. Material things can be replaced," one family member said.
Meanwhile, the Red Cross is putting them up at a local motel for three days and has given them an H-E-B gift card for food.
Anyone wishing to help is encouraged to contact their local Red Cross chapter.