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Southtown business owner says fire that destroyed building sparked drive to rebuild better than ever

SWEB web and app development company will operate Monday since work is done in the cloud

SAN ANTONIO – A Southtown business owner said she is devastated but focused on the future after a fire destroyed the building in which she worked for years.

Magaly Chocano said when a fire destroyed the building that SWEB, her web and app development company, had been housed in for the past three years, she had no choice but to look on the bright side.

Plumes of smoke visible for miles as fire burns at business south of downtown

“The minute that I saw the flames come out of my building -- you know -- outside of the devastation, I thought, ‘What am I supposed to learn from this? This fire is even going to fuel us to be better,” Chocano said.

Around 10 a.m. Friday, SWEB web developer Jorge Mata noticed something was wrong outside of the building on South Flores and Cevallos.

“Everyone's thrilled because it's Friday and then suddenly start getting this smell like someone lit a match,” Mata said.

Mata said the situation intensified moments later.

“Before we knew it, there's a tall window that was in our building where we started seeing just orange glowing coming out,” Mata said.

He ran outside and noticed the fire spreading from an alleyway that sits between the SWEB building and another. He called 911 and jumped into action as help was en route.

“Immediately just ran and evacuated the building … I wanted to evacuate next door, as well. Make sure everybody was safe,” Mata said.

No one was injured in the fire.

As far as the SWEB team, not even spirits were singed. With work canceled Friday, they met for food and drinks to focus on developing a solution.

“The greatest thing about all of this is that we’re stronger, we’re mightier, we’re better than ever,” Chocano said.

The SWEB team has already been offered a new building to work out of, but the location has yet to be determined.

Chocano said since the business operates mostly in the cloud, they’ll be back up and running by Monday.

Currently, it's unclear what caused the fire. The San Antonio arson unit is investigating.

It took some 30 units and around 100 firefighters to battle the two-alarm fire.


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