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Fire forces 12 people from South Side home

Cause of fire still under investigation

SAN ANTONIO - The cause of a fire that forced 12 people out of a South Side home early Tuesday morning remains under investigation.

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Firefighters arrived at the home in the 1000 block of Sams Drive shortly after 6 a.m. 

They said 12 people -- the family who lives there and several house guests -- had all evacuated safely by the time they arrived.

One woman later was treated by paramedics after becoming “overwhelmed,” according to Assistant Chief Robert Mikel with the San Antonio Fire Department.

A firefighter also suffered a minor injury when soot got into his eye, he said.

Crews from 11 fire units, meanwhile, had to overcome their own share of difficulties in trying to save the home.

"There were some reports of small explosions. We're not sure exactly what that was, if it was ammunition in the house or something else," Mikel said.

In addition, they had to contend with a live power line that fell onto a fire truck at one point, he said.

"That did cause a little bit of delay in getting some water,” said Mikel. "Once it was determined that it didn't have power to it, we were able to move it out of the way and continue on."

All if this came too close to home for next-door neighbor Joe Salazar.

"It was kind of late by the time we saw it. The fire started on the inside and was coming out," he said. “The flames were coming toward this way.”

In the moments before firefighters arrived, Salazar had tried to help out by using a garden hose to put water on the flames.

“But it was too far up,” he said. “I just stayed there as long as I could, until the fire engines came by and they told me to get out of the way."

In the end, though, none of the efforts paid off.

The home and an SUV in the driveway were destroyed.

Firefighters did manage, though, to help the family hold onto a few memories by pulling several singed photo albums out of the ashes.

For the family, though, there will be no going home.

Due to the extensive damage, officers with the city of San Antonio's Code Enforcement department were called in to decide whether to tear down what’s left of the home.

They were scheduled to make that assessment by the end of the work day.

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