SAN ANTONIO – At least 72 residents were displaced after a fire at the Blanco Apartments. Neighbors in the area said the complex is notorious for false alarms, and at first, they didn’t think there was an actual fire.
“When I opened the door to the hall, I wasn’t expecting to see all that black smoke,” said neighbor Rex Harris.
“You thought it was another false alarm?” KSAT’s John Paul Barajas asked.
“At first,” Harris said.
Harris is one of the many residents evacuated Tuesday night due to the fire.
He wasn’t the only person caught off guard. He said many realized that the alarm was not false as the smoke started to spread.
“I opened my front door, and it threw me. The smoke threw me back. It was scary,” said Teresa Belton, another resident.
“I inhaled a lot of that black smoke, so I think that’s why when I came out here, I was feeling disoriented,” said Sammy Rodriguez.
Opportunity Home owns the apartments and acknowledged having lots of false alarms.
The public housing agency said every unit has its own alarm that triggers the complex’s alarm.
The complex said it doesn’t plan on changing its alarm system. The false alarms can be burdensome, but officials said they believe every unit having its own smoke alarm is the safest option for residents.
San Antonio fire officials said Tuesday’s fire originated on a mattress. They had 15-20 ladder rescues during the fire call.
Many of the complex’s residents had this message for the fire department:
“Man, you know what, keep doing what you’re doing, man, because regardless of what it is, y’all come out here like five to six times a week, and they still get things done,” Rodriguez said.
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