Seven Seguin families lost their home in a blaze that gutted an apartment building early Thursday morning.
First responders were called about 1:37 a.m. for a reported fire in the 2400 building of the Summers Bend apartment complex, 1200 E. Walnut St., Seguin Fire Chief Dale Skinner said.
When they arrived, they found a portion of the bottom floor of one of the buildings engulfed in flames, Skinner said. The blaze quickly spread throughout the building, Skinner said.
“We believe it had burned for quite a while before we had been alerted,” he said. “It ran the void space between the floors and quickly got into the attic and involved the attic.”
Seguin police offers who were nearby were able to assist the fire department in quickly evacuating the units and help with search efforts to assure there was no one in the apartments, Skinner said.
While crews from Seguin, New Braunfels, San Marcos and Marion fire departments helped, they couldn't contain the blaze before it spread over the entire building, causing the roof to collapse.
Alex Saldaña and her husband, who live in an adjacent building, comforted their neighbors as they watched the fire destroy their homes and belongings.
“As soon as I saw the fire, my heart sank,” she said. “Their whole life is just gone. One of the girls starts kindergarten on Monday. She’s old enough to remember this.”
The Saldañas were up when they heard the sirens.
“We went to go see what happened and one of the buildings was on fire and it literally spread from one side to the other,” she said. “About an hour into the fire, it collapsed. The whole building is pretty much gone”
It took firefighters about an hour and a half to control the fire, and several hours later they continued to put out hotspots.
Fires at apartments, like the one on Thursday, are a challenge for a number of reasons — including resources and location, Skinner said.
“The biggest challenge on a fire this size of this magnitude is always available resources,” Skinner said. “Because of it being in an apartment complex, the distance from the fire truck to the apartments is always a challenge. The crews did a great job of getting in there and working it.”
The building contained eight units, all but one were occupied.
The Red Cross was called in to assist the families, as was the Seguin Police Department’s victim’s services.
The cause is under investigation.
Thursday’s fire is the second in seven years for Summers Bend apartments. Crews were called to the complex on Aug. 18, 2014, for a fire that displaced at least 10 families.