Frozen hydrants hamper firefighting efforts at Texas apartment building

Firefighters had to continuously retrieve water from a nearby resort and could only fight the blaze for a few minutes at a time

Jacob Beltran
San Antonio Express-News

BEXAR COUNTY, Texas — Flames ripped through an North Bexar County apartment building Thursday evening as firefighters were hampered by frozen hydrants, officials said.

The fire began at about 1 p.m. in a building at the Cortland View at TPC complex, 4092 TPC Parkway, according to Ken Jarvis, a Bexar-Bulverde Volunteer Fire Department spokesman.

The building was evacuated and there have been no reports of injuries, firefighters said.

Hours later, the blaze engulfed the building as firefighters had to continuously retrieve water from the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort and Spa, Jarvis said.

The tankers have been lining up and dropping their water into a rectangular containment area that resembles an above ground pool, Jarvis said.

Each tanker can carry a few thousand gallons, Jarvis said, which gives firefighters enough water to fight the blaze for only a few minutes.

"Every time you stop, the fire gains ground again," he said.


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Temperatures were at or below 30 degrees for much of the day, according to the National Weather Service website.

More than 75 firefighters were working on the blaze from area departments, including personnel from the U.S. Department of Defense, Jarvis said.

Residents were evacuated to the gymnasium at Johnson High School, 23203 Bulverde Road, officials said.

The Red Cross is assisting the evacuees with food and cots, Jarvis said, adding that they are welcome to stay the night if they have nowhere else to go.

Jarvis said firefighters will be fighting the blaze through the morning.

"The goal is if they can keep it from spreading. That one complex is a goner. It'll just burn itself out," he said. "But, they'll be putting out hot spots for hours and hours and hours."


(c)2021 the San Antonio Express-News


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McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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