Firefighters put out ‘third fire in a month’ inside vacant Southwest Side building

Homeless people believed to be starting fires, firefighters say

San Antonio firefighters believe an arsonist has been targeting the same vacant Southwest Side building repeatedly.

SAN ANTONIO – San Antonio firefighters believe an arsonist has been targeting the same vacant Southwest Side building repeatedly.

The latest fire happened just before 8 a.m. Monday.

RELATED: Arson believed to be cause of fire at former Southwest Side car lot, fire officials say

Fire crews found flames showing from what used to be Tricolor Auto, located in the 2700 block of Southwest Military.

“It’s been vacant for about a year. This is the third time that it’s been on fire in last month,” said Battalion Chief Russell Johnson with SAFD. “We have real bad problem with homeless people living in it, trying to stay in it.”

Fire crews had to use an aerial hose to douse flames inside the building. (KSAT 12 News)

Johnson said a witness reported seeing a man leaving the building just before the flames broke out.

The building should have been unoccupied at the time.

“The owners came from the last time and they did a really good job boarding everything up, thought they had it secured to keep everybody out of it. But when we got here they had pulled the doors and stuff off,” Johnson said.

Fortunately, no one has been injured in any of the fires.

In the latest fire, firefighters were concerned for a while that roof might be unstable or that the front wall could collapse.

Fire crews wrap up their equipment after putting out the fire. (KSAT 12 News)

He said it would be up to the city of San Antonio to decide what to do with the structure. For now, though, firefighters plan to rope off the area in the hope of keeping out trespassers.

Arson investigators also have been looking for clues that might lead them to the fire bug.

About the Authors:

Katrina Webber joined KSAT 12 in December 2009. She reports for Good Morning San Antonio. Katrina 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. It's not unusual to find her singing karaoke or leading a song with her church choir when she's not on-air.

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.