Neighbors woken up by loud explosion on east side of town, SAFD says

Firefighters racing towards the call radioed in to say they could see flames when they were still on the highway access road.

SAN ANTONIO — Neighbors more than a block away said they were shaken from their sleep by a loud explosion in their east-side neighborhood early Saturday morning.

The calls began coming in shortly before 7am from Wayne Drive, just outside Loop 410 and south of Rigsby.

Firefighters racing towards the call radioed in to say they could see flames when they were still on the highway access road.

Once they arrived, the incident commander said they found heavy smoke pouring from the second story of a cinder block home he called ‘a work in progress.’

“This house is not wired appropriately.  CPS had to pull the meter because they were doing a lot of electrical work that was not done professionally,” Chief John Castillo said, adding  investigators were trying to pinpoint the origin and cause of the fire.

Castillo said it was difficult to determine if there was an explosion because of the conditions inside and outside the structure.  “We did have a working fire here. That’s not up for debate.  How it was initiated is under investigation right now,” Castillo said.

“We were not able to make entry to the second floor and it looked like it began on the second floor and the floor collapsed so we really don’t know what happened,” Castillo said, adding that he believes the collapse happened before firefighters arrived.  “It could have gone really bad,” Castillo said of the danger to firefighters from the haphazardly constructed building.

Not trusting the integrity of the second floor, firefighters punched a hole is a wall to douse the flames and made quick work of the job, saying they had the bulk of the fire knocked down about ten minutes after they arrived.

Castillo said there was one man home at the time and he was not injured.   

Neighbors said the structure has been a source of fear for years as conditions appear hazardous, with trash and debris piled high all around the property.  

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

This is a developing story.


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