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Arson investigators looking for cause of fire in suspected hoarder house

Firefighters battled flames, smoke for about 3 hours

SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS – Arson investigators are trying to figure out how a house packed tight with furniture and other items went up in flames just south of downtown San Antonio early Tuesday.

The fire broke out inside the two story home on Weinberg Street shortly before 4 a.m.

San Antonio police officers who arrived just ahead of firefighters quickly began evacuating neighbors nearby.

Fire in suspected hoarder house presents challenge for firefighters

They told KSAT12 that they did not seen anyone inside or near the burning home at the time.

Firefighters later confirmed that no one lived there.

At one point, there were crews from 15 fire units at the scene of this fire.
At one point, there were crews from 15 fire units at the scene of this fire. (KSAT 12 News)

However, they faced a challenge due to what a previous tenant apparently left behind.

“The house is supposed to be vacant and it’s got tons and tons of stuff in it. It’s like a hoarder house,” said Battalion Chief Russell Johnson with the San Antonio Fire Department.

Johnson said there was furniture and other items, wall to wall, making it impossible for firefighters to get inside and fight the fire. They had to battle it strictly from the outside.

He said the home’s maze-like construction only added to their problems.

“They’ve had multiple add-ons on the back and the new roof had been put over the old roof. So we have fire between the first and the second floor,” Johnson said.

It took about three hours for fire crews to knock down the flames and smoke.

Firefighters practically pulled out their entire arsenal, including this aerial ladder truck, to attack the fire.
Firefighters practically pulled out their entire arsenal, including this aerial ladder truck, to attack the fire. (KSAT 12 News)

The home was destroyed but they were able to keep the fire from spreading to any other homes on the tightly compacted street.

There were no injuries reported as a result of the fire.

After a fire investigations team had a chance to assess the fire, they called for an arson team to find out what caused it.

Johnson said there were signs of a break-in, possibly by homeless people looking for shelter.


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