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Despite the heroic acts of bystanders, a Pearsall woman lost her life last week after a fire ravaged her west-side home Wednesday afternoon, July 15.
Pearsall volunteer firefighters and Pearsall police officers arrived on scene to find the home on Rio Grande Street fully engulfed in flames.
According to witnesses, it was when Susan Esparza’s neighbor, Homer Leal, heard the woman yelling for help that he did not hesitate to enter the burning building to rescue the woman.
Leal reported that he found Esparza on the floor of her hallway between the kitchen and the living room.
“She was not ambulatory,” Fire Chief Placido Aguilar said in a phone interview Monday morning. “She must have tried to stand up and fell right there. It was already very hot in there because Homer had to crawl on the ground to get to her.”
A preliminary report on the case identified an electrical fault in Esparza’s motorized wheelchair as the likely cause of the fire.
The woman, who was burned over 35 percent of her body and suffered from smoke inhalation, was transported to a San Antonio hospital where she later succumbed to her injuries.
“The house is a total loss,” the fire chief said. “We send our condolences to the family.”