West Side house collapse injures two

Men demolishing house when it collapsed

SAN ANTONIO – A home demolition came to a crashing halt for two men on the West Side when the home collapsed.

Fire crews rushed to the 900 block of Southwest 40th Street at about 2:30 p.m. Sunday, where they found one of the two men trapped under the fallen house.

Firefighters said the roof caved in on top of the men when they knocked a support out during demolition.

One man freed himself, but the other man could not and was trapped by the collapsed roof. Neighbors who witnessed the violent crash came to help.

"When I ran over here, one of the victims was coming out and he said, 'There's somebody else in there.' And I heard somebody screaming and I could see his feet. The good thing is he was talking, he was conscious, he was breathing. (He was) obviously in a lot of pain," Michael Alvarado said.

Neighbors were unable to free the trapped man from under the collapsed home. Rescue crews arrived, lifted the fallen structure and the man was able to crawl out. Fire officials at the scene said he sustained injuries to his hips and ribs. EMS transported both men to University Hospital as precaution.

The men told officials they heard the home creaking and tried to get out, but didn't make it in time.

Fire officials said the home sits on a pier and beam foundation, not concrete. Investigators said the men mistakingly removed supports that held up the roof.

"It usually is pretty structurally sound, but it has a tendency to obviously shift like it did. Because when the outside structural (members) and the top structural members that are holding it up give, those are buried in the dirt. So it's not like a solid cement slab that will stay in place," said Lt. Joe Arrambide, with the San Antonio Fire Department.

Investigators said the men had the proper paperwork and permission to demolish the home. They will not face any fines or penalties.

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