Firefighters struggle through 'dangerous maze' to battle fire near downtown

Difficult layout of building presents challenge for fire crews

SAN ANTONIO – The unusual layout of a building added to the difficulties firefighters faced in putting out a fire early Monday morning near downtown, San Antonio Fire Chief Charles Hood said.

The blaze broke out after 4 a.m. inside a vacant building near San Pedro Avenue and West Laurel that often is used as a haunted house at Halloween time.

Hood said it appears someone may have been trying to use it as a home when the fire ignited. 

"A lot of times in a situation like this when it's very cold, we get a lot of homeless that potentially start warming fires," he said.

With temperatures hovering around the freezing mark, firefighters had to stand up to the heat.

The fire at one point burned dangerously close to some gas pumps and spread to an adjacent business, Supremes Sports Bar, causing some damage there.

Hood said firefighters had an especially tough time putting out the fire because of the building's maze-like layout.

"(It's) an absolutely dangerous block," he said. "It's a bunch of buildings put together. And so, it's something we're going to have to look at. We're definitely going to have code enforcement come out."

Arson investigators were called in to try to isolate the exact cause of the fire.

Hood said if his hunch about it is correct, he's concerned there may be similar fires.

"A lot of times we'll see spikes in warming fires because of the temperatures," he said. "So that's something for us to be concerned about."

No injuries were reported.


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