Fire outside Elmendorf home raising suspicions among investigators

Police, fire marshal's investigators looking for fire's cause

By Katrina Webber - Crime Fighters Reporter, Tim Stewart - Photojournalist

SAN ANTONIO - A fire that started outside a home in Elmendorf is getting more than a second look from investigators.

Elmendorf police have called on investigators from the Bexar County Fire Marshal's Office for help in the finding out how the fire started.

The fire broke out just before 3 a.m. Thursday at a home in the 17100 block of South Second Avenue.

Assistant Fire Chief L. J. Padalecki and his crew from St. Hedwig Emergency Services District 12 were among the first on the scene. 

"We had reports of somebody inside still. (It was) unknown if the homeowners were still home or not, or out of town," he said.

While his crew attacked the flames that had begun to consume the front door and eaves of the home,  firefighters entered the home to conduct a search for people.

Firefighters later confirmed with the homeowner by phone that no one was there. The family was out of town, Padalecki said.

"It took probably around 30 to 40 minutes to knock down the fire, the rest of the fire, due to the older construction of this home," he said. "A lot of it was going underneath the home."

Eventually, firefighters did put the fire out.

Although they managed to keep the flames from spreading to the interior, the smoke and heat caused damage throughout the home, Padalecki said.

Firefighters estimate the damage at about $50,000.

"They still have a lot of their valuables, salvageable," Padalecki said. "They'll still be able to go through a lot of that stuff."

Sorting through it all and making repairs are just some of the chores that will be waiting for the homeowners when they return.

As of late Thursday morning, investigators had not yet determined how the fire started.

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