Family wants answers after home destroyed by drug activity goes up in flames

By Japhanie Gray - Reporter

SAN ANTONIO - A family wants answers after a home built by their grandfather in the 2000 block of Lyons Street went up in flames Thursday morning. 

William Pettit, grandson of the original owner, said the home has been in their lives for years.

“I couldn’t believe it because I grew up in this,” Pettit said. “This is very sentimental to us. This was the big house and now it is reduced to rubble.”

The San Antonio Fire Department said when crews arrived to the home, it was vacant with a pit bull chained up in the front.

“Somebody had to deliberately set this,” Pettit said. “How would you feel if that was your loved one’s home that someone set on fire? It doesn’t make sense.”

Pettit said two family members were supposed to take care of the home after their grandfather died, but because drugs got in the way, they didn’t keep it up.

“My granddaddy put his blood sweat and tears into this house,” Pettit said. “Everything he worked for and scratched for, he put into this house. Everyone came here. It went from a two-bedroom to a four-bedroom.”

Pettit said the drug activity in the home was a major issue.

“My aunt stopped paying the electricity so they could get their lives together and take care of their own responsibility,” Pettit said. “Unfortunately, they didn’t get the message, and instead of paying the bills, they stayed there and did their drugs and allowed other people to come over to do drugs too.”

Neighbors think that may have started the fire.

“People just go in there to get high and stuff like that and probably someone was in there getting high and they started the fire, and they just took off and got scared,” said one neighbor, who lives across the street from the home.

Pettit said it has been a month since he last saw what the house looked like. He said if he had any idea of the damage, he would have stepped in a long time ago.

“This is the man I am named after, so of course I would have come out here with no problem and did whatever it cost to get it done,” Pettit said. “He is turning over in his grave right now to see his legacy is reduced to rubble.”

Pettit said his family can only try to rebuild the home in honor or their grandfather.

“My grandfather hasn't done anything to anybody in this community but try to love everybody,” he said.

The San Antonio Fire Department said it is still awaiting the results from arson investigators. Until then, Pettit is encouraging anyone with any information to speak up.

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