Duplex at Stone Oak senior community destroyed by fire

4 people displaced by fire

SAN ANTONIO – Two couples who live at Independence Village, an independent living community for seniors in the Stone Oak area, have lost their homes due to fire.

San Antonio firefighters responded to the fire shortly before 6 a.m. Friday and found heavy smoke and flames coming from a duplex.

"The fire immediately got up in the attic and then it just ran the length of the attic," said Battalion Chief Brooke Hildreth. "We did have four people who are going to be displaced, two couples that live here."

Hildreth said firefighters had a tough time putting out the stubborn fire, and for a while, were concerned it might spread to other units.

"We actually were very concerned about that. We actually evacuated some of the other apartments," she said.

Shelley Rappaport, who lives in the complex, said that was a big concern for her, too.

She said there had never been a fire there before, and she was wondering whether firefighters would be able to contain it.

"Our units are in such close proximity that if one unit goes… the next one can go," Rappaport said.

The property owner, Gary Katleman, said he called in his staff to assist the couples who lost their homes, as well as others who were evacuated.

Everyone handled the chaotic situation as best as could be expected, he said.

"We'll make accommodations for them to live, some place in our community," Katleman said, speaking of the displaced couples.

Firefighters managed to contain the fire to one duplex.

Hildreth said one unit was destroyed, while the other sustained heavy damage.

"We were able to save some of the property from one apartment, and their cars too," she said.

Arson investigators were called in to look for the cause of the fire, although Hildreth said it did not appear to be suspicious.

As of 11:30 a.m. on Friday, the cause of the fire was still undetermined.

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