SAN ANTONIO – San Antonio fire investigators suspect that lightning may have sparked a fire that roared through a North side apartment building, leaving two people injured, more than a dozen displaced and several pets dead.
Firefighters responded to calls about the fire in the 1300 block of Patricia Avenue just before 3 a.m. Thursday.
When they arrived, they say they found the second floor of a building at the ICON apartments, engulfed in flames.
However, fighting the fire, temporarily, had to take a back seat.
“We had multiple people on balconies needing rescue so the first-in companies were involved in getting people off balconies,” said Asst. Chief Neal Ague with SAFD.
Ague says one woman who was rescued suffered some minor burns. Another was injured when she jumped from her second-floor balcony.
Both were taken to a hospital, although Ague described their injuries as non-life-threatening.
“We lost a couple of pets in the fire,” he said. “We pulled out a couple of pets (alive).”
Other people, meanwhile, escaped the fire on their own.
Richard Daigre smelled smoke and wasted no time in leaving his ground floor apartment, even though the fire, at that point, was still on the second floor.
“I opened the door and all I heard was, ‘Evacuate!,” he said. “I ran back inside and got my girlfriend and two dogs and boogied on out the door.”
Later, he returned to find that, although the fire never reached his home, it did sustain quite a bit of water damage.
Firefighters say all 16 apartments in the building were affected either by the flames, smoke, or water. All but one of them was occupied at the time of the fire.
Volunteers with the American Red Cross assisted members of the apartment complex’s staff in relocating most of the people who lived in the building, firefighters said. “More than likely we’re going to be in a motel somewhere,” Daigre said.
However, he said he hoped he would be placed in a different unit at the same apartment complex within a few days.