The images are hard to forget.
Two months ago, the Ingram Square Shopping Center on San Antonio’s northwest side was a roaring inferno, a four alarm firestorm fought by personnel from more than 80 fire trucks.
San Antonio Firefighter Scott Deem died battling the blaze and Brad Phipps was critically burned.
Now, some 60 days after the devastation, work is finally underway to restore a portion of the building.
Construction workers are on the job at the Texas Thrift Store, which was scorched but not completely torched by the blaze. Workers have gutted the interior and are now in the process of replacing sheetrock and preparing the store to re-open soon.
But next door, where the damage was much more extensive, work has come to a halt and the protective cyclone fence that is supposed to secure the place has fallen victim to the elements. A spokesman with the city’s development services division said that they say will have an inspector look at compliance issues on the site.
They say that no permits have been pulled for renovation work on the rest of the property yet. The property manager did not return a call asking for an update.
While the site is clean and ready for renovation, the stench of destruction still hangs in the air. Concrete walls that outlasted the inferno are still scarred by the four-alarm blaze.
Meanwhile, critically burned firefighter Brad Phipps continues to fight back. A fire spokesman says "he's continuing to make progress and hopes to be home soon, but there is no exact time table yet.”