- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 3, 2015

CASTLE HILLS, Texas (AP) - An analysis by the San Antonio Fire Department says the arrival of specialized resources to a December fire that killed five residents of a senior living facility near San Antonio was delayed because responders were unaware it was a high-rise.

The San Antonio Express-News (https://bit.ly/1zEy7Mf ) reports that the department praised Castle Hills for requesting help from other agencies but says the city did not relay information about the Wedgwood Senior Living Apartments being an 11-story structure. The San Antonio Fire Department has “pre-plans” for buildings like high-rises that include blueprints and where the water sources are, but because the fire occurred in Castle Hills, the department did not have a pre-plan for Wedgewood.

According to the report, the San Antonio Fire Department’s second- and third-alarm companies should have responded sooner.

Wedgewood was built in 1962, so it was not required to have sprinklers installed.

The analysis does not indicate if the Castle Hills Fire Department has a pre-plan for the Wedgewood that was not shared with other agencies, or if they do not have one at all. Officials said the cause of the fire cannot be determined.

The cause of the fire cannot be determined, officials say.

The department did praise Castle Hills for requesting help from other agencies, and said that “all worked well together without major issue.” The department now recommends that other local agencies begin pre-planning certain buildings, and that the information be shared.

“All high-rise and extremely dangerous structures should be pre-planned, including those in the jurisdiction of adjacent agencies,” the analysis said. “The pre-plans should be readily available to all agencies that could respond.”

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Information from: San Antonio Express-News, https://www.mysanantonio.com

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