NW Side home destroyed by fire could face demolition

Fire on Johnny Reb started in home next door, spread

SAN ANTONIO – A Northwest Side home destroyed by fire that started in a house next door could face demolition.

Located in the 9200 block of Johnny Reb, the home was vacant and had recently undergone renovations. It went up in flames around 3 p.m. Tuesday after fire in the home next door spread to it.

Firefighters responded to a 911 call and found flames shooting through the window of the original home.

The roof of the vacant home next door later became a fireball, with huge flames shooting skyward.

"It was just a lot of the blackest smoke you'll ever see and the ash flying," said Tony Abrego, who lives in another home on the same cul-de-sac. "It was quite an ordeal because it really did look like the street was going to go up."

Abrego wasted no time trying to do what he could to help. He grabbed a power washer and began wetting down the remaining homes that were in the line of the fire.

San Antonio firefighters arrived quickly and took over.

"They came in and put it out. If it wasn't for them, this whole city block would've gone," Abrego said. "This is a great opportunity to say, 'I love paying my taxes.'"

As of Wednesday morning, the fire department still hadn't released a cause of the fire.

Fire officials estimate the damage to the original home at about $125,000, with about $50,000 in damage to its contents.

Neighbors said a family of three live in the home.

The fire left them wondering about the fate of nearly a dozen pet cats. On Wednesday morning, at least one of those animals had made its way home. What became of the other missing pets wasn't immediately clear.

Firefighters said the second home affected by the fire is considered a total loss.

A man who showed up at the site Wednesday morning said his company owns the house and had just completed a $30,000 renovation job to it.

A sign on the lawn announced it was for rent.

However, the presence of a crew with the city of San Antonio's Department of Development Services suggested there may be a different fate for the house.

City workers took pictures and assessed the damage to determine if the structure should be torn down.

What's left of the house remains roped off with caution tape and signs announcing that it's a dangerous structure.

About the Author:

Katrina Webber joined KSAT 12 in December 2009. She reports for Good Morning San Antonio. Katrina was born and raised in Queens, NY, but after living in Gulf Coast states for the past decade, she feels right at home in Texas. It's not unusual to find her singing karaoke or leading a song with her church choir when she's not on-air.