Three-Alarm Fire in San Antonio Destroys Apartment Building

January 29, 2009

Firefighters rescued two people and a third person jumped from a second-floor balcony to escape a three-alarm fire that destroyed an apartment building in San Antonio, Texas, on Jan. 27.

Fire Chief Charles Hood said that while the San Pedro Apartments’ building was a loss, he was relieved there were no fatalities or serious injuries from the fire that began just after 6:30 p.m. The person who jumped had minor injuries.

A statement from the Red Cross said it was assisting residents in 12 apartments that were affected by the fire. The statement said 13 families, including children and individuals with special needs, were displaced.

“It’s all gone. I won’t even have clean underwear for tomorrow,” said Susan McAllister in an online story for Wednesday’s edition of the San Antonio Express-News.

She and husband Andre McAllister had just moved into one of the units a month ago as newlyweds. The couple was grateful their baby boy was at his grandmother’s house.

“I did what I could to warn people,” said Andre McAllister. He banged on doors as the fire spread from the first floor to the second.

About 2,500 customers in the area lost electricity for a brief period because heat from the fire melted the power lines along the apartment building, CPS Energy spokesman Rolando Romero said. Romero said most of customers’ power was restored by 7:30 p.m., with only customers immediately adjacent to the complex left without power until about 10 p.m.

“It is more challenging because the wires are melted there,” Romero said.

About two hours after the blaze started, more than 120 firefighters and support personnel remained at the scene. It took about an hour to contain the fire, Hood said.

Employees at a Wendy’s near the complex quickly evacuated the restaurant.

Ernest McCrory, who lives about 100 feet from the apartment building, was eating dinner at a Pizza Hut across the street when he noticed a commotion outside. He described seeing a “giant explosion of flames” that were higher than the high-rise buildings across the street from the apartments.

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