Argument heard just before house fire, SAFD says

4 apartments, 1 home heavily damaged north of downtown

SAN ANTONIO – Arson investigators are trying to determine whether an argument is connected to a fire that heavily damaged two homes north of downtown Friday morning.

San Antonio Fire Department spokesman Woody Woodard said neighbors heard the argument coming from a home in the 1100 block of West Ashby Place.

Dispatchers received a 911 call around 5:15 a.m. about flames and smoke coming from a two-story house, which had been converted into four separate apartments. Before long, the fire also had spread to a single-family home next door. Flames could be seen shooting from the roofs of both structures.

Fire Chief Charles Hood said the fire wasn't the only hurdle firefighters faced.

"We were hindered by a lot of power lines in the area, so we had to move those to set up," Hood said. "So it was a very difficult fire for us to finally get a grasp on."

At one point, more than three dozen fire units were on hand, including two aerial ladder trucks. Firefighters took several hours to knock down the flames.

Both structures sustained heavy damage.

Alejandro Ramiro Bravo, who owns the home next door to the one where the fire originated, said there was a heated exchange at his neighbors' home.

"I heard a commotion out there, some people arguing at the apartments next door, so I got up to see who it was," Bravo said. "I started getting my people out, I mean my family -- my daughter, my son and my wife."

Hood said everyone also made it out safely from the building next door.

The fire has left all of them looking for a new place to stay. 

For Bravo, the timing is especially bad. He had plans to open up his home to relatives visiting from Mexico.

"The bad thing about it is that I don't have insurance," Bravo said. "But hopefully (the neighbors') can cover it."

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