Defenders probe siren-operated sensor gate system after fire caused by lightning

Neighbors claim firefighters held up by gate that would not open

SAN ANTONIO – Records from the Bexar County Fire Marshal’s Office show a siren-operated sensor on a gate that neighbors claim malfunctioned is working properly.

A home caught fire after it was struck by lightning in the gated Enclave at Wortham Oaks neighborhood in northeast Bexar County Monday night.

Neighbors said the siren-operated sensor, or SOS, at the gate was not working and delayed the response time of firefighters.

Some neighbors said they had to open the gate by hand.

Inspection records from the Bexar County Fire Marshal’s Office show the gate was last inspected on December 10, 2015, and was found to be working properly.

Following the Monday fire, investigators re-inspected the gate Wednesday and found it was working.

The Defenders began investigating SOS systems in 2013 following the stabbing death of Christopher Clingan. First responders were delayed when they could not open the locked gate at Clingan’s North Side apartment complex.

On dispatch transmissions, emergency personnel could be heard saying, “They’re needing a gate code. That’s going to be the hold up?”

Gated properties in unincorporated parts of Bexar County are required to have the SOS system.

The Bexar County Fire Marshal’s Office inspects SOS systems annually and following any time complaints about the gate are made.

No complaints about the gate at the Enclave at Wortham Oaks had been made to the fire marshal’s office prior to Monday’s fire.

People can report complaints about an SOS system to the Bexar County Fire Marshal’s Office by calling 210-335-0300.

About the Author:

Myra Arthur

It has been Myra's long-time goal to anchor and report in her hometown, and being able to do that as part of the KSAT 12 News team is a real dream come true. San Antonio is home for Myra. She graduated from high school in the Alamo City and went on to earn a journalism degree from Southern Methodist University in Dallas.