Space heater blamed in dest­ructive house fire

Home partially collapses in blaze near Woodlawn Lake


SAN ANTONIO - A malfunctioning space heater is being blamed for a devastating fire at a home in the 1700 block of West Woodlawn Avenue.

The fire broke out at around 5:20 a.m.

Firefighters said it's unfortunate -- but not a surprise -- to have these sort of incidents during the cold winter months.

"The problem with the heaters is that we don't want them left unattended," said San Antonio fire Captain Roger Lopez. "If you do have a space heater, make sure it's close to you and make sure it's operating properly."

There were three men inside when the fire broke out: the homeowner and his two cousins.

Homeowner Joe Pileggi said by the time they realized what was going on, the home was engulfed in flames and smoke.

"We were all sleeping but I was in the back room and I thought that was it. There was no other way out of the back room," he said.

By the time firefighters arrived, everyone had escaped. One man was treated at the scene for smoke inhalation.

However, the flames were so intense, crews couldn't get inside the fight the blaze.

About 60 percent of the home was destroyed.

Firefighters said the blaze started in the garage.

They said the residents had left on a space heater to keep their pets warm. Unfortunately, the heater malfunctioned, sparking the fire.

The four dogs that were inside the garage managed to escape unharmed but now those dogs and the residents are without a home.

Firefighters said the homeowner didn't have insurance.

For now, the Red Cross will help the residents find a place to stay.


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