Trend of fires in vacant buildings tests, troubles San Antonio firefighters

KSAT 12 News has covered at least 10 such fires since April

SAN ANTONIO, Texas – A recent trend of fires breaking out in vacant buildings across the city is both troubling San Antonio firefighters and putting them to the test.

Since the beginning of April, KSAT 12 News has covered at least ten fires in vacant homes and other buildings.

One of the most recent such fires broke out after 4 a.m. Thursday inside what was supposed to be an unoccupied home in the 100 block of Grosvenor Boulevard.

“We had a vacant house that was fully engulfed in flames,” said Battalion Chief Oscar Gonzalez with SAFD. “At this point, we’re kind of following a couple of leads.”

Gonzalez was not able to say right away was caused the fire. He said investigators were working to determine that.

However, Gonzalez did determine that fire crews had been to the same home for another fire just last Saturday.

A vacant home on the South Side is expected to be torn down following a fire on Thursday, June 29, 2023, in the 100 block of Grosvenor Street. (KSAT)

No one was hurt either time, and no other property was damaged or destroyed.

The toll from fires like this, though, is adding up.

Below is a map of 10 fires that we have covered since April:

Among the nearly dozen fires in vacant structures that KSAT 12 News has covered since April was one that destroyed an entire apartment building on Pecan Valley.

Another fire on North Flores damaged an empty home that, previously, had been declared historic. “There is a trend, obviously, as you noted on that,” Gonzalez said. “Various factors. At this point, it’s difficult to pinpoint just one.”

He was not able to offer any one reason for the fires.

However, Gonzalez mentioned at least one way they could be prevented.

He recommended that everyone keep an eye out for suspicious activity near vacant homes and report anything that they see.

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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.

Santiago Esparza is a photojournalist at KSAT 12.

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