Family of student killed in San Marcos apartment fire seeks answers year after tragedy

PASADENA, Texas (KTRK) -- A year later, families are still waiting for justice after five were killed in an off-campus Texas State University fire.

One of those killed, was 21-year-old David Ortiz, a Pasadena native.

Last July the fire broke out in the middle of the night at the Iconic Village Apartments. By the time it was out, seven were injured and five were dead, including David. The fire was labeled a homicide, after police say they believe it was set on purpose. So far, no arrests have been made.

"I know somebody knows what happened," said Gina Ortiz, David's Mother.

David's family isn't sure why he didn't make it out. They say students told police that they never heard the alarms, or heard them too late. The family admits they never checked the smoke alarm when David found the off-campus apartment.

"It makes me upset that one minor little detail caused so much devastation," said Jessica Sanchez, David's Sister.

Now David's family is taking action to prevent another tragedy like this from happening again.

They created The David A. Ortiz foundation, which provides Pasadena Memorial High School students attending Texas State with a thousand dollar scholarship. In addition to money, each recipient also receives a smoke detector, which David's family hopes saves lives after a fire forever changed theirs.

"A lot of them, even the ones that didn't win the scholarship, came up and hugged me and thanked me for thinking of them," said Gina.

This year, the family was able to award three students, but the goal is to do even more next year. The foundation is about doing more than awarding scholarships, it's helping to spread a message. As students prepare to leave for school next month, the Ortiz family wants to stress the importance of fire safety.

"What we didn't know, and sometimes what you don't know, can hurt you," said Gina.

As they await justice, David's family is focused on the foundation, and leaving a legacy David would be proud of.

"I just want people to remember his smile, his kindness, his demeanor. He wasn't above anybody. He was a real stand-up guy," said Anthony Ortiz, David's Brother.

You can now help the David A. Ortiz Foundation in collecting money for next year's scholarship by donating on the foundation's Facebook page.

Funds will go towards buying smoke detectors and providing additional scholarships.

If you have any information in this case you're asked to call 1-888-ATF-TIPS

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