Firefighters help fallen professor, contain fire and gas leak

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Firefighters help fallen professor, contain fire and gas leak near campus

By Evelyn Reyes

sac-ranger@alamo.edu

Busy morning for San Antonio Fire Department reveals injured faculty member, welding mishap and pipeline

The crew of Fire Station 6 cool off at noon Thursday after putting out a welding fire at 1819 McCullough, two blocks east of this college. Capt. Eric Ruiz said there were no civilians or fire personnel injured and estimated $10,000 in damages to the unoccupied commercial building. Photo by Kyle R. Cotton

The crew of Fire Station 6 cool off at noon Thursday after putting out a welding fire at 1819 McCullough, two blocks east of this college. Capt. Eric Ruiz said there were no civilians or fire personnel injured and estimated $10,000 in damages to the unoccupied commercial building. Photo by Kyle R. Cotton

puncture, officials say.

Neighborhood firefighters who assisted a faculty member who fell on campus today later responded to a fire and gas leak at two buildings near this college late this morning.

A professor sitting at a desk In McCreless Hall fell backwards and suffered a cut on the head, said Vanessa Torres, this college’s public relations director.

When EMS and fire paramedics arrived on scene, the professor was taken to University Hospital to ensure there were no other injuries.

As paramedics left campus around 11 a.m. en route to a fire on Basse Road, they spotted workers tending a fire in an old Pizza Hut building off of McCullough Avenue and East Dewey Place, said Eric Ruiz, San Antonio Fire captain.

“I saw workers on top of the roof with hose lines trying to put out a fire, and I saw fire and smoke coming out of the building so I pulled up, put my stuff on and took care of that building,” Ruiz said.

There were no injuries, he said.

Of eight fire trucks that responded, some were from Fire Station 6, 503 W. Russell Place. EMS was called out as a precaution but was not needed.

Workers in the vacant building were welding.

“Sometimes the solder catches on to the wood or the insulation and that’s how fires start. That’s exactly what happened there,” Ruiz said.

A block down, near McCullough and Locust, in the lot next to the WellMed building, construction workers flagged down the same firefighters about a gas leak.

“I see all these workers looking at me like ‘help me,’” Ruiz said.

He said he could smell mercaptan, a flammable colorless non-toxic gas with an unpleasant odor, in the air.

Ruiz said construction workers were working on an area to begin construction when they punctured a 2-inch gas pipeline, which caused the gas leak.

Dan Calderón, director of public relations for WellMed, said no more than 50 people, including staff and patients, were evacuated from the building as a safety precaution.

The evacuation lasted less than an hour and business resumed as normal for the rest of the day.

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