‘Hoarding’ conditions, passing train slow down battle against house fire near downtown

Residents escaped burning home on their own

SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS – San Antonio firefighters responding to a home south of downtown found their efforts slowed by a passing train and hoarding conditions inside the home, according to a battalion chief.

Jarrett Vocke with the San Antonio Fire Department says some of the crews called out to the home shortly before 4:30 a.m. Friday had trouble just getting to the 200 block of Pendleton Avenue.

“Not the first unit, but the second and third arriving units that were delayed by a train,” he said. “They had to reroute.”

Firefighters face challenges with fire at home south of downtown

Firefighters take a moment to regroup after fighting house fire.
Firefighters take a moment to regroup after fighting house fire. (KSAT 12 News)

The challenges didn’t end once they reached the home, Vocke said.

Inside the house, firefighters found what they called hoarding conditions. They had to clear a path to get to the fire inside the home.

“They had some difficulty making access to the house due to a large amount of contents,” Vocke said. “When firefighters are in there initially searching for victims, it’s usually under poor visibility and heavy smoke conditions, and they’re searching by feel.”

He said although these types of conditions could put lives at risk, no one was injured in this fire.

The people who lived in the home managed to escape on their own.

Vocke said he planned to call the city’s code compliance department to investigate the living conditions, and he called arson investigators to find the cause of the fire.

While he could not offer a damage estimate, Vocke said the home is unlivable for now due to the fire damage.

About the Authors: