Arson investigators look into whether suspected West Side fire starter acted alone

Three fires happened at same time, SAFD says

SAN ANTONIO – The San Antonio Fire Department’s arson unit is investigating whether two series of fires that happened Tuesday night and overnight into Wednesday morning may be connected.

They also are looking into the possibility that more than one person was involved, according to Battalion Chief Wesley West.

“This latest rash came about 3:30 (a.m.) or so, when all three of them happened at the same time,” West said. “(San Antonio police) ended up getting somebody in custody. A neighbor saw that guy, or reportedly saw that guy, light a fire.”

At one point, fire crews simultaneously were putting out fires in the 1500 block of Elvira; on NW 20th St. near W. Houston; and on Matyear near Faust.

After police arrested the man, identifed as Silvio Escobales, in the 100 block of Faust, the fire streak appeared to stop, West said.

However, he said there’s a possibility there may have been more than one person involved in starting the fires.

He said in all, his crews from Fire Station 8 responded to six fires overnight.

Most involved brush or trash that had been set ablaze.

“Somebody put the fire on here,” said Ramon Ozuna, pointing to a charred section of his carport.

The Elvira Street homeowner was stunned by the seemingly random attack on his property.

About a mile away, Simon Hernandez was still reeling from the close call another fire caused for him.

He said he woke up to what he thought was rain falling outside his home on NW 20th Street.

Instead, he found out from his son that the fire was right outside his bedroom. 

Fortunately, firefighters were able to keep the damage at all of the sites to a minimum, and no one was hurt.

They, however, lost nearly an entire night’s sleep.

West said his crews weren’t the only ones who were unusually busy.

He said firefighters at Station 15, just west of his station, also fielded a series of suspicious fire calls at one point Tuesday night.

Arson investigators are questioning the suspect in custody, trying to determine how many of the fires are connected and if he acted alone.

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