Firefighters battle flames, sparking power lines at West Side home

SAFD: Burned home supposed to be vacant

Sparking power lines added to the troubles for San Antonio firefighters as they battled a raging fire at a two story house on the city's west side.

A next-door neighbor noticed the fire, in the 3800 block of W. Houston Street, around 5:30 a.m. Wednesday after hearing windows breaking on his own home.

That man, his family and three dogs left their home for safety.

Firefighters, meanwhile, had to stand back when the fire spread to live power lines nearby, sending off sparks that resembled fireworks.

"You got a couple thousand volts going through there. You don't want to get anywhere close. It's arcing like a giant spark plug," said Battalion Chief Mark Black.

Once workers with CPS Energy arrived and shut off the electricity, firefighters were able to attack the fire with force.

Still, the home burned to the ground.

Black said the structure, which had no electricity supplied to it and no electric meters, was supposed to be vacant.

However, he said neighbors reported that they have seen homeless people going in and out of it.

"With this cold front and vacant buildings on this part of town, it's definitely a likelihood that there may have been somebody in there trying to stay warm," Black said.

As of 11:30 a.m., arson investigators had not released the official cause of the fire.

After daylight, they brought in a cadaver dog to rule out the possibility that someone may have been trapped inside the burning home.

If someone had been inside when the fire started, investigators said that person escaped in time.

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