Neighbor believes fire at vacant Southwest side home is suspicious

Arson investigators still looking for cause

Neighbor believes fire at vacant Southwest side home is suspicious
Neighbor believes fire at vacant Southwest side home is suspicious

SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS – A woman who lives in a Southwest Side neighborhood where a vacant home went up in flames overnight says she believes the fire is suspicious in nature.

Sandra Sandoval said she has never seen anyone living in the single story home that, until early Thursday morning, stood at the corner of Lark Valley and Walnut Valley.

“There’s never been a light on, you know? So I don’t think that was an accident, personally,” she said.

Arson investigators looking for cause of vacant house fire

Arson investigators who were called in to find the cause of the fire still had not made a determination as of late Thursday morning.

Woody Woodward, a spokesman for the San Antonio Fire Department, said due to the amount of damage, they may never be able to figure out how it started.

Sandoval, meanwhile, is grateful the fire did not spread to her home.

For a while, though, she was concerned.

Flames already had burned through the roof of the home by the time firefighters arrived, as shown in this photo captured by KSAT 12 News viewer Irma New. (KSAT 12 News)

Huge flames had consumed the house and were threatening to spread beyond it, as shown in photos shared by KSAT12 viewer Irma New.

“I thought it was my backyard. And no, when I checked it was the house. We got out our kids because it’s close to where we live,” Sandoval said. “You can just feel all the heat to your face.”

She and her family were alerted to the fire at some point before 4 a.m.

“If it wouldn’t have been for a neighbor calling or knocking on our door, I don’t know, God. We don’t know what would’ve happened,” Sandoval said.

Firefighters were already at the scene by that point, battling a fire that they said seemed to have been burning for a while.

A battalion chief said when they got the 911 call around 3:15 a.m., flames already were shooting through the roof.

He said they were able to see the smoke and fire immediately after they opened their doors at the fire station, which is located around the corner on Ray Ellison.

They remained at the home for about two hours, first knocking down the fire, then making sure it didn’t rekindle.

At one point, firefighters had to knock down some of the walls of the home to make sure they didn’t collapse.

Photo captured by KSAT 12 News viewer Irma New shows firefighters using ladder truck to douse the flames. (KSAT 12 News)

About the Authors:

Katrina Webber was born and raised in Queens, NY, but after living in Gulf Coast states for the past decade, she feels right at home in Texas.

Tim has been a photojournalist and video editor at KSAT since 1998. He came to San Antonio from Lubbock, where he worked in TV and earned his bachelor's degree in Electronic Media and Communication from Texas Tech University. Tim has won a handful of awards and has earned a master's in Strategic Communication and Innovation from Tech as well.