Police search for man involved in dispute before apartment fire

SAN ANTONIO – San Antonio police are trying to track down a man who they said was involved in a dispute with a woman several hours before their Northeast Side apartment went up in flames.

Although firefighters stopped short of calling the Tuesday morning fire suspicious, they said an arson team is investigating.

Firefighters responded before 6:30 a.m. to a call about the fire in the 9500 block of Perrin Beitel Road.

"It was pretty warm in there, pretty hot. They got in there and knocked the fire down. There were no occupants inside," said San Antonio fire Captain Michael Moore.

Moore said the initial team of firefighters had a bit of trouble getting into the second-floor apartment because of something blocking the door.

"I’m not really sure, but we think it was a sofa," he said.

Once they were inside, firefighters quickly knocked down the flames and kept the fire from spreading beyond the unit. A downstairs apartment had some water damage.

At the height of the battle, people who live in the three adjacent apartments had to leave their homes temporarily. Firefighters also had the electricity turned off throughout the building.

Before arson investigators arrived, suspicions were raised about the fire.

Police confirmed that they had been called to the same unit about three hours before the fire.

They said a couple had been involved in a dispute, although the man had left by the time officers arrived.

"My understanding was that it was a domestic dispute," Moore said. "Whether or not it was related, I really couldn’t say."

Police said they suspect that the man might have returned to the apartment at some point before the fire.

They said they are interested in talking to him.

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