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Massive fire near downtown forces residents to evacuate

"The flames were busting all the windows on the sides of the houses and melted my neighbor's car."

SAN ANTONIO — The first call for a massive fire came in at 2:55 a.m. near downtown at the corner of Center and Swiss streets on the east side.

As soon as the first responding fire truck rolled up and found a wall of flames at a townhome construction project, they immediately started an aggressive attack at City Center Lofts.

And while firefighters jumped in to battle the intense flames, people who live at a three story complex across the street, sprang into action as well.

Neighbor Ryan Proudfoot said he woke up to sirens and loud commotion.

"I wasn't sure what was going on so I rolled my windows up and I saw a lady running away from my door, going house to house banging on doors, ringing doorbells," Proudfoot said.

Proudfoot said it was frightening and disorienting to look across the street and see an inferno.

"It was pretty overwhelming. The fire, they were three story homes, so the flames were incredibly high and they were bending over coming towards our homes so I thought the two power lines were going to topple over and catch our homes on fire," Proudfoot said.

Within just a few minutes, firefighters realized that saving the building under construction was an impossible task, so they turned their attention to saving the occupied homes across the street.

Proudfoot said the heat from the fire was so intense, it melted the driver's side of a car sitting in the street.

"The flames were busting all the windows on the sides of the houses and melted my neighbor's car. I've never seen fire like that to be honest so it was a little overwhelming," Proudfoot said.

After standing in the dark for well over an hour, hoping for the best, Proudfoot said he and his neighbors feel a sense of gratitude that their homes were saved.

"It's scary when you see something like that but we have an incredible community here and support system and an incredible fire department and police department so we will figure out what happened and move forward," Proudfoot said.

The developer of the project is Terramark Urban Homes.

Chief Operating Officer John Cooley provided the following statement:

"We are under construction on the townhomes at 414 and 412 Center Street and received a call at approximately 3am that the units were on fire. Our VP of Construction, Reid Curry, left immediately to see what could be done to help save the homes. The units were scheduled to be insulated this week. By the time he arrived on the scene, the San Antonio Fire Department was already on site and it was clear, despite their best efforts, they would be a total loss. It's not clear what would have caused a fire at that time, but they were not at a point where power was connected to the units. We appreciate the SAFD's work to help ensure the fire did not spread. Thankfully, it doesn't appear anyone was hurt."

A number of units at City Center Lofts are listed on the company's website as being pre-sold. More information on the project is listed on their website

The fire department has not yet released a cause for the fire.

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