Dozens of firefighters battle blaze at a West Side home

Arson investigators are looking into what caused this fire

By Alicia Barrera - Multimedia Journalist, Ken Huizar - Photojournalist

SAN ANTONIO - More than 20 firefighters battled against heavy smoke and large flames to try to save a home in the city's West Side.

Fire crews were called out to the 900 block of South San Augustine Street around 7 a.m. Saturday. Now, arson investigators are looking into what caused this major house fire.

From blocks away, clouds of heavy smoke were seen rising from a neighborhood near Highway 90 and General McMullen Road.

The first task for firefighters once at the scene, was to remove the boards from all windows of the home, but the blaze intensified so quickly that it forced first responders to exit the home.

"The fire conditions inside got too bad for us to be inside anymore," said Battalion Chief Wesley West. "That fire continued to burn until we (sprayed) water from above."

The home, now reduced to charred wood, has been declared a total loss.

"The house is made up mostly of wood interior as opposed to new construction with a lot of sheet rock drywall, that sort of thing," West said. "So, it's heavy, heavy wood and (there was) a lot of fire in this house when we got here."

Although the burning house was abandoned, firefighters had to save other homes from the flames.

"The little house on the right-hand side, (a) nice old white house (with) yellow trim looks perfectly fine right now. We put crews over there to take care of that house," West said.

While firefighters struggled against the smoke and flames, they also had another enemy: the heat and humidity.

West says they decided to increase their response to a total of four fire engines and two ladders to ensure the safety of his team.

"There was actually a little bit of a cool breeze this morning when we first got here, but nonetheless, humidity is high, so we try to rotate them out as much as we can."

Arson investigators have not determined the cause of the fire. No injuries were reported.

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