June 08--SAN ANTONIO -- Twenty people were displaced Saturday evening after an apartment building on the Northwest Side erupted in flames.
Fire crews responded to the blaze at the Auburn Creek Apartments, 4411 Gardendale, just after 7:45 p.m. They arrived to find heavy smoke and flames coming from one of the buildings.
A second alarm was initially called, but was canceled as crews brought the blaze under control.
Armatar Joseph, 19, was at the complex's pool with his sister, Thias King, and his niece and nephew when the fire began.
King said she was just about to jump into the pool when she smelled smoke.
She told Joseph and he immediately ran to the building to make sure no one was inside.
He cleared the first floor, then ran up to the second floor, where he said he found several elderly people struggling to get out of their apartments.
"I heard people screaming and I started bringing them downstairs," he said, adding there was a lot of smoke and fire in the apartment as he helped people get outside.
"I thought I was going to die," he said.
Joseph was treated for smoke inhalation at the scene, and one other person was treated for superficial burns. No major injuries, however, were reported.
SAFD Battalion Chief Thomas McNulty said the fire caused an estimated $120,000 in damage to the building itself, along with about $60,000 in damage to property.
Thomas said preliminary details indicated the fire was the result of a resident overheating oil while cooking.
Crews were at the scene trying to find shelter for displaced residents.
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