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WOAI-TV Damaged In Early-Morning Fire, But Back On Air

Joey Palacios
Texas Public Radio

News 4 WOAI had to evacuate mid-broadcast after fire alarms sounded at about 5 a.m. at their studio on N. St. Mary’s and Navarro. "WOAI Today" Morning Anchor Leslie Bohl said at first the staff thought the sirens were a false alarm.

"The alarm kept going off for about five to six minutes, we stayed with the Vatican coverage and once the alarm went off we resumed broadcasting," Bohl said.

Once they resumed local news, they were told to evacuate.

"We got into the second or third story after the alarm stopped going off and at that point my producer came into my ear and said, ‘We need to evacuate, there’s a fire in the building.' So I grabbed my purse and ran out," Bohl said.

Flames were shooting out of a second floor window in the Traffic Department. It took about 55 fire fighters to take down the fire, which Assistant Fire Chief Oscar Gonzales said gave them a challenge.

"When we first arrived it looked really bad. We had some flames out the second story window and heavy smoke for quite a while – I’d say for about 20 or 30 minutes – until we got a handle on this thing," Gonzales said.

Everyone was able to evacuate safely and took shelter at the nearby Hotel Indigo.  "San Antonio Living" Host Shelly Miles says for once the news was the story.

"It’s definitely interesting to be on the other side of the news," Miles said."Usually we’re reporting on fires, today we are the fire."

Other than the traffic department, the rest of the studios were left intact. The station resumed broadcasting at about noon.

Joey Palacios can be reached atJoey@TPR.org and on Twitter at @Joeycules