Electrical problem believed to be cause of NW Side apartment fire

16 units at Melia Apartments temporarily evacuated

SAN ANTONIO – An electrical problem appears to have started a fire early Wednesday at a Northwest Side apartment complex, San Antonio fire investigators said. 

The fire, which broke out around 4:30 a.m., led to the evacuation of an entire building at the Melia Apartment Homes in the 3400 block of Oakdale Drive.

Police officers and firefighters went around door to door, telling people to leave their homes.

"I thought I was dreaming. I looked out. A cop's there," said Eric Davis, who lives in the building. "He goes, 'Dress warm, pick whatever you need and get out of here.'"

Davis and about a dozen of his neighbors stood under a carport, trying to get out of the chilly drizzle while fire crews worked nearby.

Firefighters eventually found the fire inside the wall of one apartment, spreading upstairs to a second-floor unit.  

"Just finding where it was and making sure we had every last bit of it contained is what was so time-consuming," said San Antonio Fire Department Battalion Chief Will Pritchett. "It wasn't that much fire. It was just finding it."

The fire caused about $25,000 in damage to the two units, Pritchett said.

About two hours after they were told to evacuate, most of the residents were allowed to return home.

The people who live in the two apartments directly affected by the fire were not as lucky, Pritchett said.

He said their apartments were no longer inhabitable and they would have to find another place to stay. 

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