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Firefighters: Flames burned ‘basketball sized’ hole in floor of vacant home

Arson investigators trying to find out how fire started

SAN ANTONIO – A house that had nothing to make it a home -- no working electricity and no furnishings -- somehow caught fire early Wednesday on the city’s East side.

East Side home undergoing renovations catches fire overnight

San Antonio firefighters say they noticed flames and smoke on the second floor of the two story house, located in the 200 block of Paul Street, when they arrived after 3:30 a.m.

Flames lap at the roof just above the second floor of the home where investigators believe the fire started.
Flames lap at the roof just above the second floor of the home where investigators believe the fire started. (KSAT 12 News)

The fire burned right through the floor on the second level, they said.

“I’m gonna say a hole about the size of a basketball burned through it, with charring around it into the wood,” said Battalion Chief Connie Hall with SAFD.

The unusual burn pattern, among other attention-getting items, caused her to call in arson investigators.

Hall said the house was vacant, although it appeared someone had been taking steps to make it livable again.

“There are some construction type materials in there, such as a ladder stuff like that,” she said. “But nobody is living there.”

An arson investigators take photos around the outside of the home.
An arson investigators take photos around the outside of the home. (KSAT 12 News)

While firefighters say all signs point to someone doing renovations on the property, one neighbor told KSAT12 off-camera that she hasn’t seen anyone working on the home since last summer.

That woman said she called 911 Wednesday morning after hearing noises that sounded like someone was tossing around items around inside the home.

While she was on the phone with a dispatcher, she said she began to see glowing orange flames.

“It doesn’t appear like it was a squatter issue,” Hall said about the possibility that someone was living there illegally. “That’s something that arson will determine.”

Hall mentioned that firefighters did notice that the door to the home was wide open when they arrived.

However, she said police officers were the first to respond to the 911 call.

She wasn’t able to determine right away whether they may have opened the door, or if, perhaps, it might be linked to the fire’s origin.


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