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Lightning to blame for multiple house fires Thursday

2 dogs killed in overnight fires

SAN ANTONIO – Firefighters responded to multiple house fires overnight Thursday, many of them caused by lightning, fire officials said.

One fire in the 4500 block of Wrangler View on the city's South Side destroyed a home and claimed the life of a puppy trapped inside.

Battalion Chief Keith Crusius said that when crews arrived just before 7 a.m., the home was fully engulfed in flames.

The homeowner said he had heard a loud popping sound around 4 a.m. and then his electricity went out. He said he went about his business and then learned of the fire while he was at work.

Firefighters said they think the cause of the fire was lightning, and they believe that the winds may have caused embers to ignite the home.

"(We hit) heavy traffic. (It was a) bad time for the call. It’s a long distance from the nearest fire station. Heavy wind blowing, so it was the worst of all conditions," Crusius said.

Nobody was inside the home at the time of the fire, except the owner's puppy, which did not survive.

Neighbors heard the dog barking and tried to save it.

"We knocked down the door, we looked inside (and) sure enough, we did not see the dog. But we heard him. He was barking. It was sad," neighbor Al Brown said. "We did try to see if we could get in there, but the roof had already started caving in. As soon as it started caving in, you could see the fire inside the house on the floor."

Dog dies in fire on North Side

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Another fire occurred just before 6:30 a.m. Thursday in the 400 block of Eleanor Avenue on the North Side. The home is near Broadway and North New Braunfels Avenue.

Officials at the scene said eight people inside the duplex all made it out safely. A dog, however, died as a result of the fire.

"(I've) been complaining to my landlord already. It’s been, like, months. I've been trying to save to get a new place," Alexandra Constante said. "My money is in there, everything is in there."

"My wife's handicapped. I was afraid she was going to get stuck back there," said Tod Taylo, who lives in the duplex.

Firefighters said there was $85,000 worth of damage to the structure. The contents inside the duplex are a total loss.

The cause of the fire is believed to be electrical. Arson is investigating the cause.

4 people escape house fire

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A lightning fire was reported just after 3:30 a.m. in the 3200 block of Oneida Drive, near Vance Jackson Road and Wurzbach Road.

Firefighters at the scene said lightning likely hit an air conditioning unit on the roof. The fire then spread to the attic above the garage.

Officials said four people inside the home at the time of the fire all made it out safely.

The homeowner was taken to a hospital for smoke inhalation as a precaution.

An estimate of damage to the home is not presently known.

Clothes catch fire in dryer

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A North Side couple avoided a fire in their home because they decided to wait out last night's storm in their RV.

The fire started about 6 a.m. in the 400 block of Dawnview Lane, near Blanco and Basse roads and not far from Olmos Elementary School.

Firefighters said the couple happened to be out of the house when some clothes in the dryer caught fire.

"They were in the process of moving stuff out anyway. (It) started raining, so they just sat in the RV. So that's where they were when the fire got going," SAFD Battalion Chief Wesley West said.

The back of the house was in flames when firefighters arrived. The said flames were shooting through the roof.

They were able to keep it contained and quickly put out the flames.

No one was hurt, but a family pet was killed in the fire.

Repairs will cost about $25,000.


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