Man dies in post-storm house fire

Julye Keeble

Staff writer

After the Friday night storms, a fire broke out early Saturday morning at 321 S. Wood St., leading to the death of 88-year-old Raul L. Rodriguez.

Rodriguez was the sole resident of the home, having been preceded in death in 1999 by his wife, Bartola Rosa Garcia, after approximately 43 years of marriage. A funeral service was held for Rodriguez on Tuesday at 10 a.m.

Uvalde Police Department Cpl. Ramon Morin was patrolling in the 100 block of South Getty Street early Saturday when he spotted smoke, and began attempting to locate the source. The smoke, which was being dispersed by wind, appeared heavy. He was checking several locations when he noticed the concentration of smoke appeared thickest behind O’Reilly Auto Parts, and he called in other officers for assistance.

Locating the home, which was quickly becoming engulfed in flames, at approximately 1:28 a.m., Morin and other officers began knocking on doors and windows identifying themselves as police officers, but received no response.

Uvalde Volunteer Fire Department was called out at approximately 1:39 a.m. and responded with three fire trucks and about 15 firemen. Upon arriving on the scene, firefighters began battling smoke and flames coming from the roof of the house.

Firefighters had the blaze contained within about 10 minutes, but in the course of fighting the fire, the man’s body was discovered.

The Uvalde fire marshal is investigating the cause of the fire. UVFD remained on the scene until 4:30 a.m.

Uvalde Police Department Lt. Mariano Pargas Jr. said Rodriguez’s body was sent to be autopsied as is standard practice, and that officials suspect the earlier rain played a part in causing the wood to smolder, which created the large amounts of smoke.

Pargas noted that Rodriguez would have been 89 years old next month, as his birthday was in June.

jkeeble@ulnnow.com, 830-278-3335



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