Apartment fire likely sparked by BBQ grill on balcony, investigators say

The San Antonio Fire Department has confirmed residents’ suspicion. Officials say a barbecue fire displaced 10 families on the northeast side.

SAN ANTONIO — On Wednesday, officials confirmed 10 families were displaced after a massive fire tore through an apartment building on the northeast side.

It happened just after 5 p.m. on Tuesday at the Acadia on the Lake Apartments on Thousand Oaks Drive. According to investigators, the fire started on the first floor of an apartment building and quickly spread to the second floor.

After making sure everyone was accounted for, crews attacked the second alarm fire from above as the second floor and roof started to collapse. Fire officials say one person was taken to the hospital for smoke inhalation. 

According to the San Antonio Fire Department (SAFD), a barbecue grill on a person’s balcony likely started the fire. It’s something several residents told KENS 5 on Tuesday. 

“The neighbors were talking about how the dude was barbecuing on his patio because it was raining outside,” said Antonio Harris. “So, he was barbecuing on his patio and it caught flames. It’s sad. Like people are going to come home – it’s not even 6 p.m. – people are going to come home and see that their house is gone. Barbecuing is never that serious! These people just got displaced and it affected a whole bunch of other lives. It’s not even worth it. They have designated barbecue grills where you can do that at [at the apartment complex]. It was just dumb.”

SAFD recommends several grilling safety tips. Barbecuing on balconies is not allowed, according to a spokesperson for Acadia on the Lake. 

Property management says 12 units were damaged, but two were vacant. The leasing office has reportedly placed impacted tenants who were interested in remaining at the property in new units. A spokesperson said they are also working with the Red Cross and local nonprofits to meet the immediate needs of displaced families.

No one is facing charges in the case. Since arson investigators were not called to the scene, the incident is likely being treated as an accident.

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