SAN ANTONIO – A West Side business owner is feeling emotional and thankful. His business was the only one in the strip mall off Ingram Road left without serious fire damage after a massive four-alarm fire on Thursday.
Sound Check concert venue was spared the night firefighter Scott Deem was killed and two other heroes were injured.
Unlike many of its neighbors, Sound Check is already back open.
It was morning's light Friday that helped business owner J.R. Rendon absorb the full extent of the fire damage.
"The first thing I saw was the memorial. That's when I realized we had a major problem. We had a fireman that had lost his life," he said. His words stumbled as he became choked up.
The expansive fire that charred the strip mall left the firefighting community devastated and almost every business ruined.
"All of the businesses and buildings are down with the exception of us. I thank God for that," Rendon said.
Rendon has owned the Sound Check concert venue for just four months. It used to be Joe's Volcano.
Most of the strip center is still closed off for the fire investigation. Around the damaged stores is a large fence and caution tape. At the end of the line of businesses is Sound Check, which only had minor smoke damage.
"We had a few of the workers, as well as my wife and management, and we were prepping for Friday night. We noticed a smell. We were working here on stage and being that it's a concert venue, we thought the smoke machine was on," Rendon said.
The smoke didn't come from a machine and it began to grow thicker.
"At the worst point on a scale of 1-10, I would say it was an 8 to 9," he said.
Rendon and his employee grabbed a ladder and made sure the fire wasn't coming from their roof.
"We have a firewall that protects us from the rest of the building," he said.
From his view of the entire shopping center's roof, it became immediately clear where the fire was coming from. Rendon could see the smoke rising from some of the center businesses.
When asked if the roof had caved in yet, Rendon said, "It was warping already. You could tell because the air conditioners were, they were displaced."
The next day, Rendon's power was off and he had to air out the smoke, but by Friday afternoon, the fire marshal and CPS Energy had helped him re-open his business.
Due to the investigation, there is very little parking for Sound Check, and Rendon is feeling grateful to surrounding businesses on both sides of Ingram Road that are sharing parking with his customers.
"Therefore, in return, we have to do something back and give back to our community. We will probably do several concerts on Thursdays to benefit the fallen fireman as well as the other two firemen, and all proceeds will go to them," he said.
All proceeds will go to the fallen and injured firefighters' families. There will be possible appearances by Kevin Fowler, Tex-Mex Maniacs, Flaco Jimenez and Augie Meyers.
"Just keep the families in prayer, keep our firemen lifted and our community here, we’re a strong community," Rendon said.
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