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Massive fire destroys east-side truck stop

The building housed a Flying J Travel Center and a Denny's location. Responders said the fire started in the Denny's kitchen.

SAN ANTONIO — Firefighters spent several hours subduing a massive fire on the east side of town Thursday morning, but not before it burned a local truck stop to the ground. 

The fire began around 5:15 a.m. at the Flying J and Denny’s in the 1800 block of Foster Road, near I-10.

Fire Chief Charles Hood said the fire started in the kitchen of the Denny's and later moved in the that attic and up to the roof. Department spokesman Joe Arrington later clarified that firefighters were able to subdue the kitchen fire in the initial attack but the responders then realized the fire was also burning though the vents in the attic above them.

Arrington said firefighters were forced to retreat outside the building and work to contain the blaze. He also said the first fire engine on the scene was damaged by the flames as the fire grew. Crews were on the scene until the middle of the afternoon trying to subdue hotspots in the already-destroyed building. 

Hood told reporters Thursday morning the weather only made things more difficult. 

"Once we put the supply lines in we can't move those trucks. The winds changed on us so we may have a little damage on one of our fire trucks. Other than that, considering the amount of fire and the wind we are happy with the outcome," Hood said.

All employees got out of the building and no one was harmed.  

The department later said the fire's "cause will be under investigation but will likely go as undetermined due to the extent of the damage."

Pilot later released a statement to KENS 5 saying that employees would be relocated:

“We are relieved to report that all of our Team Members and Guests have been accounted for and are safe after the fire that occurred at our Flying J travel center in San Antonio, Texas. We thank the San Antonio Fire Department and First Responders for their quick response and action to control the fire. We are cooperating with the local officials as they investigate the cause, and we ask you to direct any inquiries to the proper authorities.

The safety of our Team Members and Guests is our top priority. We are grateful to our Team Members and responders at the scene who helped ensure everyone on property was able to evacuate the building safely. We are providing support resources to our valued Team Members and will make jobs available to them at nearby travel centers while we work to restore this location.”

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