SAWS investigating problems with low-water pressure that hampered firefighters

Crews battling house fire had to use water from trucks, firefighters say

SAN ANTONIO – San Antonio Water System workers began testing fire hydrants Monday morning in the East Side neighborhood where firefighters had struggled to put out a house fire hours earlier.

SAWS crew members could be seen driving around in the area near Wyoming and Toledo streets around 8 a.m., occasionally stopping to test the flow of water from the nearby hydrants.

RELATED: Firefighters battle flames, deal with low water pressure at East Side house fire

That is the same area where fire had destroyed a vacant house around 5 a.m.

San Antonio firefighters who were called to the 200 block of Toledo found flames shooting from the roof and windows of a single-story home that they said was supposed to be vacant.

Firefighters said they quickly began trying to hook up their hoses to nearby fire hydrants, only to find out they were not up to the job.

“We had some water issues, low-water pressure,” said SAFD Battalion Chief John Castillo. “So, we had some difficulty getting a strong water supply.”

A crew with SAWS stops to check the water pressure on a fire hydrant along Wyoming Street. It's the same area where firefighters struggled with low water pressure while battling a house fire. (KSAT 12 News)

Castillo said the low pressure they were receiving made it difficult for crews to tap into the hydrants with all the hoses they needed to fight the fire.

Instead, they had to rely on fire trucks with their own water supply.

Castillo said they did manage to hook up just one truck, their aerial ladder truck, to a hydrant and use it.

“Once we were able to establish that aerial line, that helped us bring the fire under control,” Castillo said.

It took close to an hour for them to extinguish all the flames.

No one was hurt, and firefighters did not find anyone inside the home.

Castillo said it had no working utilities and had not had any legal tenants since 2022.

“We do know that our fire investigators determined that there was some homeless activity inside,” he said.

Investigators, however, did not find the exact cause of the fire right away.

KSAT 12 News emailed a spokesperson for SAWS regarding the problem with the fire hydrants. Here is the response we received:

Our crews have been investigating the reported issue since early this morning and have found that the PSI (Pressure) is as expected for this area. The hydrants in our service area are checked regularly on a rotating basis. We will continue to investigate but so far have not found any problems related to pressure.

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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