Firefighters were still working Sunday to extinguish the remnants of a blaze on the former Lone Star Brewery property that started late Saturday.

Firefighters responded to a call at 10:53 p.m. at the property at 600 Lone Star Blvd. and battled the blaze overnight at the 32-acre former brewery purchased out of bankruptcy last year with plans for a mixed-use development.

Shortly before noon Sunday, fewer than 10 San Antonio Fire Department personnel remained at the site, acting shift commander Russell Johnson told the San Antonio Report. The fire left behind smoldering cork in the abandoned brewery’s ceilings and walls.

“It’s really not flaming, it’s just smoking,” Johnson said. “We have to keep putting water on it to keep the smoke down. We don’t see any foreseeable future when that’s going to be put out.”

  • Railing hangs out of a broken window at the former Lone Stone Brewery. The 32-acre property has been vacant for almost 30 years.
  • San Antonio firefighters sit in the basket at the end of a stretched ladder to direct water to the roof of the former Lone Star Brewery building Sunday morning.
  • Water vapor billows out of charred windows on an upper floor of the abandoned Lone Star Brewery building. The 32-acre property has been vacant for almost 30 years.
  • A fragment of a sign that reads "Slow" "Ship" and "Office" floats in a puddle of water created by the runoff from the gallons of water firefighters continued to spray onto the old Lone Star Brewery building Sunday morning.
  • Water pours out a doorway as San Antonio firefighters worked to continue putting out the fire at the former Lone Star Brewery on Sunday morning.

No one was injured in the two-alarm fire at the property, which was vacated in 1996 but often draws trespassers and people seeking shelter.

Johnson was not able to provide information on how the fire started and said investigators are working on identifying a cause. Fire Chief Charles Hood told KSAT on Sunday that the origin was “probably suspicious” and may have been the result of someone building a small fire for warmth.

The fire is a setback for the fourth recent attempt to transform the abandoned site, originally built as Sabinas Brewing Co. in 1933. The site was later home to a swimming pool, biergarten, and, in the late 1950s, the Buckhorn Saloon and Museum.

Last April, following an unsuccessful redevelopment effort by the previous property owners, Lone Star Brewery Development, a bankruptcy judge authorized the sale of the property to a subsidiary of San Antonio urban developer GrayStreet Partners for $14.45 million.

GrayStreet and Houston-based real estate investment firm Midway then announced plans for a live-work-play development called the Lone Star District. The project echoed the mixed-use redevelopment that transformed the abandoned Pearl Brewery north of downtown.

The first phase was to include repurposed historic buildings with 100,000 square feet of office space, 250 “modern, industrial-style” apartment units, plus space for retail and food and beverage. A website promoting the development emphasizes its historic nature and proximity to the San Antonio River and Mission Reach trails.

Peter French, GrayStreet’s director of development, said in a statement Sunday that the owners would assess the damage once investigators complete their work.

“We appreciate the quick response of the San Antonio Fire Department and are thankful no one was injured,” French said. “We remain committed to moving forward with our plan to redevelop the property.”

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Brendan Gibbons

Brendan Gibbons is a former senior reporter at the San Antonio Report. He is an environmental journalist for Oil & Gas Watch.