An early morning fire has damaged the downtown San Antonio building that houses News 4 WOAI-TV.
San Antonio firefighters were called to the building at the corner of N. St. Mary’s and Navarro streets shortly before 5 a.m. Tuesday and found flames and smoke coming from the second floor.
According to employees, a fire alarm inside the building alerted them to the situation. They were able to safely evacuate before firefighters arrived.
The station continued broadcasting NBC network coverage of Pope Francis’ inaugural mass after the evacuation.
However, shortly before 6 a.m., the building’s electricity was shut off, knocking the station off the air. However, they were back up and running local news breaks in a limited capacity by 11:30 a.m.
It did not appear that the fire, itself, reached the ground floor where the station’s studios are located.
But it is too early to tell whether that area may have smoke or water damage.
Employees said the second floor, where the fire started, is where some of the executive offices are located.
Initial reports indicated the cause of the fire was electrical in nature, but that information has not been confirmed by the San Antonio Fire Department.
John Seabers, General Manager of WOAI-TV, released a statement saying in part:
“At approximately 5:00 a.m., a fire alarm was triggered at WOAI-TV, and the building was evacuated. Fire units arrived shortly thereafter. The fire was contained to 2nd floor offices. We expect to have electricity restored to the building by noon. We are grateful no one was injured."
The statement also thanked the San Antonio Fire Department for their quick response and action.