Woman detained after suspicious fire at former fire station later released

Vanessa Gallegos denies any involvement in starting fire

SAN ANTONIO – A woman who was detained and questioned about a suspicious fire at a former South Side fire station has been released without any charges being filed against her.

Vanessa Gallegos told KSAT 12 News she had nothing to do with the fire which broke out early Wednesday in the 600 block of Gillette Avenue.

The fire caused damage inside a building that once served as the San Antonio Fire Department’s Station 2.

Fire in former South Side fire station believed to be arson

Gallegos said she was asleep outside the building when it went up in flames shortly before 5 a.m.

“I heard the glass shatter so that's what woke me up,” she said. “When I saw my stuff missing, I panicked and went straight inside the door.”

She said while she was napping, someone apparently took some of her belongings, prompting her to search inside the burning building.

“I went in to look for my bags because I had two backpacks and my purse,” she said.

Gallegos said that is when she suffered minor smoke inhalation.

Vanessa Gallegos was treated at the scene for minor smoke inhalation.
Vanessa Gallegos was treated at the scene for minor smoke inhalation. (KSAT 12 News)

She was treated by paramedics at the scene, but then remained there to answer questions from arson investigators.

Firefighters believed the fire was suspicious because the building should have been empty.

Firefighters were in an unusual position, battling flames on familiar ground.

“Some of them were working there, literally, just 18 months ago, so I'm sure it was interesting to fight fire in a building they used to sleep in,” said Battalion Chief Brad May with SAFD.

The fire department moved that station’s crews and equipment to a different location after outgrowing that building.

While it was supposed to be vacant, Gallegos and others say they often see people going in and out of it, and sometimes vandalizing it.

Gallegos believes the same people may have stolen from her and started the fire.

However, no one has been arrested yet.

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