Clouds of smoke billowed from the roof of a vacant home north of downtown Saturday night as the San Antonio Fire Department fought to contain the intense fire.
Red lights from fire engines tint this photo as more than two dozen units respond to an intense blaze at a vacant home in the 2500 block of North Flores Street on Saturday night. Neighbors say people who are homeless often take shelter in the house; no injuries were immediately reported.
Firefighters arrived at the home around 6:15 p.m. finding “quite a bit of fire,” according to Joe Arrington, fire department spokesman.
They attempted to make an “aggressive interior attack,” but the flames were too much, Arrington said.
“We had to go defensive on it because of the amount of fire that was above our heads,” he said.
Later, firefighters called for more manpower — totaling about 25 units by 7 p.m. — not because of the size of the fire, but “the amount of work that’s going to be involved,” Arrington said.
“It’s going to be a long night, we’ve got to make sure that it’s out,” Arrington said. “In these older homes that are built as well as they are, the fire can tend to hide in the void spaces so we’ve got to get in there and tear it all apart and make sure we get all the fire out.”
Firefighters did not find anyone injured from the fire in their initial search, and will conduct a second search after containing the fire.
The cause is still under investigation, but is likely tied to “squatters,” Arrington said.
Though vacant, the home at the corner of N. Flores St. and W. Russell Place, is known by neighbors as a place where people who are homeless congregate.
“You could tell there was activity there,” said neighbor Dan Heggem, recalling having seen debris left on the porch and messages on the door. The property had been cleaned up a few months ago, but as it got colder, people sought shelter there.
It was still too early to assess the amount of damage caused by the fire, but Arrington called it “substantial.”