Smoldering cigarette likely to blame for massive apartment fire, investigators say

SAN ANTONIO – San Antonio fire investigators focus on a smoldering cigarette as the cause of a fire that damaged or destroyed up to nine units in an apartment complex on the northwest side.

The fire in the 8300 block of Greatview started after 5:30 a.m. Tuesday, a time when many people were sleeping in the Sugar Hill apartments.

RELATED: Firefighters Fight Fire at Northwest Side 3-Story Apartment Building

Fortunately, Emmanuel Ledesma heard a crackle and woke up just in time.

“I saw it was very bright and I am looking over it. There were just flames everywhere, ”he said. “I just went to everyone’s door, ‘Boom, boom, boom, boom!’ The man who lives just below us is very hard of hearing and I knocked, knocked, knocked until he finally came out.

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Residents watch firefighters pour water from a ladder truck onto the flames. (News KSAT 12)

Once he felt everyone was safe, Ledesma grabbed his cell phone and filmed the huge flames which, at this point, were burning through the roof.

Other neighbors also filmed the blaze.

The firefighters, meanwhile, were able to intervene and focus on extinguishing the fire.

“Looks like it started on the third floor. That’s where all the damage is, ”said Chief Charles Hood of the San Antonio Fire Department. “It was contained through the roof, but it started on the third floor.”

A fire investigator told KSAT 12 News that a cigarette appeared to be smoldering on the balcony of one of the apartments on the third floor.

But the fire did not stay there.

It spread throughout this section of Building 8.

“Eighteen, 18 units in total (in the building). Six of them were involved in a fire, ”Hood said.

The fire chief said several other units were damaged by water and smoke.

The building is divided into three sections, divided by covered passages.

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Hood said people who live in the section furthest from the fire source may be able to return home.

It seems that those who lost property in the fire will be able to replace at least part of it.

Hood said the apartment complex required residents to have tenant insurance, and that everyone who lived in the building affected by the fire had it.

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