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Multiple problems plague San Antonio fire crews, keep them running 36 hours straight

Fireplace-related fires, water outages make for busy shift

SAN ANTONIO – An overnight fire in a duplex on the city’s Northwest side was only the latest call in a string of non-stop action for one set of San Antonio firefighters.

When they got the call after 2 a.m. Thursday, they already had been running for about 36 hours straight on everything from fires to flooding caused by broken pipes.

“It’s been tough on everybody, but everybody’s pitched in. Nobody’s been complaining,” said Lt. David Philipp with SAFD.

Fire crews, working for 36 hours straight, handled a number of house fires that started in a fireplace. (KSAT 12 News)

When they arrived in the 6700 block of Hickory Springs Drive, it had to seem like a bad case of déjà vu.

The fire in one side of a duplex was one of many that began with people using their fireplaces to keep warm.

“There (have) been a lot of these fires,” Philipp said. “They’ve had these fireplaces going for so long, for so many days.”

The woman who lives in the duplex told firefighters she started the fire in her fireplace around 10:30 p.m. Wednesday.

She later woke up to flames spreading throughout her home.

The woman, who was the only one in the home, was able to get out safely.

Firefighters were able to keep the fire from spreading to the other side of the duplex or any other homes.

They say a stroke of luck helped them knock down the fire quickly.

While there are widespread water outages in the city, firefighters were able to tap into a working fire hydrant on that street.

“We had a lot issues with water supply yesterday. And that’s just because there’s so many leaks,” Philipp said.

He said issues with fireplaces are pretty widespread, too, but they also are easier to avoid.

“A lot of them, over the years, they wear down,” Philipp said. “They have thin metal in there that allows embers to get into the wall space.

People should call in a professional to check out their fireplaces before even lighting a match, Philipp said.

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