A fire has spread throughout a large apartment complex in San Antonio, Texas, where firefighters are struggling to extinguish the blaze in frigid weather causing problems with fire hydrants. Witnesses captured video of the flames spreading in the city’s north side.
Bexar-Bulverde Volunteer Fire Department Chief Jerry Bialick said in a video statement a portion of the building was collapsing just moments before a large piece of the five-story building fell to the ground with a crash and burst into flames. At the time, Bialick was talking to a reporter on the scene in a news broadcast. He said residents were evacuated, and he expected crews would be on the scene all night. The fire hydrants were frozen, he said, causing problems for firefighters who were battling the blaze. The goal, he said, was to keep the fire from spreading to other buildings.
The fire erupted in the Cortland View apartment complex off TPC Parkway in the Stone Oak area, according to Fox San Antonio. It began on the second floor of an apartment building before spreading to additional units and buildings, KSAT reported. Fire hydrants at the complex were not dispensing water, according to KSAT. Crews brought in tanker trucks and had already emptied six of them. The San Antonio Fire Department and the Bexar-Bulverde Volunteer Fire Department were at the scene, and more manpower was expected to join them.
Information on injuries was not immediately released.
Here’s what you need to know:
Witnesses Captured Video of the Massive Fire That Damaged an Apartment Complex on San Antonio’s North Side
— WNYT NewsChannel 13 (@WNYT) February 19, 2021
Several witnesses and friends and relatives of victims shared video from a large fire that caused the evacuation of apartments amid record-breaking cold in San Antonio Thursday, February 18, 2021.
One Twitter user wrote that her brother lives in one of the apartments, located in the 4000 block of the TPC Parkway.
“a building at my brothers apartment complex caught on fire and now they are asking everyone to evacuate, it has caused two other buildings to catch on fire. the cause is suspected to be a water heater exploding,” she wrote on Twitter.
She later shared a photo of the skeletonized apartment building, which was still on fire.
here is an update: pic.twitter.com/fBR0sudoFR
— 𝕸. (@MRHOLVRZ) February 19, 2021
A man filmed the 26-second video from the landing of a nearby building. It shows debris flying through the air and smoke pouring from several locations in the complex. He coughs as he speaks on the video.
“Bruh, they’re going in,” he said, filming a firefighter on a ladder who had the upper half of his body inside the burning building.
Another shot shows a ladder truck dispersing water into another part of the building.
“Oh my God,” the man says.
His sister later wrote, “this is happening in San Antonio, Texas! If you could please keep my loved ones in your prayers and thoughts.”
A live broadcast of the fire showed bright orange flames coming from multiple parts of the building. A cacophony of fire alarms can be heard in the background.
Another person shared a photo from the scene of the fire.
This is my son's apartment complex in San Antonio. They don't have water so the fire department is trying to use 2 tanker trucks. pic.twitter.com/uS2ki74sIR
— #Justice is coming! (@jaxtell123) February 18, 2021
“This is my son’s apartment complex in San Antonio. They don’t have water so the fire department is trying to use 2 tanker trucks,” the person wrote.
Another Twitter user shared a 20-second video of flames shooting from the roof.
— John Albright (@johnalbright) February 19, 2021
“apartment fire near Marriott TPC San Antonio,” he wrote.
Another person shared an earlier TikTok video from a fire in Houston. A person replied, saying his dad is a firefighter in San Antonio, and described problems with water amid the below-freezing temperatures.
They are just letting houses burn. No water,…Houston, tx. pic.twitter.com/fGXW6QmU5g
— ♥Kathy♥Lucky Charms 🇺🇸🇵🇷🇩🇪🇮🇪❤❤❤ (@LuckieKathy) February 18, 2021
“My dad is a firefighter in San Antonio. He said because there is no running water they can’t hook up to any of the fire hydrants and all they can do is rescue the people and animals and try to stop it from spreading. It’s a nightmare down here,” the comment said.
The Apartment Complex Had Power but Lost Its Water Before the Winter Storm Hit
BREAKING – I’m at an apartment complex off TPC Parkway where a massive fire erupted.
I’m trying to get you info soon, but I’m told the complex has had electricity but did not have water since last Sunday. pic.twitter.com/eWqwuo2BTW
— Alejandra Guzman (@AlejandraG_TV) February 19, 2021
The apartment building had power but did not have water since Sunday, according to Alejandra Guzman, a reporter with News4SA and KABBFox29 who was on the scene Thursday evening. She also shared a video of the fire.
“BREAKING – I’m at an apartment complex off TPC Parkway where a massive fire erupted,” she wrote on Twitter. “I’m trying to get you info soon, but I’m told the complex has had electricity but did not have water since last Sunday.”
— Alejandra Guzman (@AlejandraG_TV) February 19, 2021
She shared another video panning over the destruction.
“This is the scene of the fire, which has clearly destroyed parts of the Stone Oak complex already,” she wrote.