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Officials have identified three of the five victims in the deadly fire that ripped through the Iconic Village apartments in San Marcos on July 20.
The search for Haley Frizzell, James Miranda, Belinda Moats, David Ortiz and Dru Estes came to a close on Tuesday. As of Thursday, July 26, Frizzell, Ortiz and Estes have all been positively identified. Miranda is pending identification, while Moats is still listed as missing.
The fire ripped through the Iconic Village apartments, located in San Marcos, around 4:30 a.m. More than 200 residents, many of whom were Texas State University students, are without a home.
Current and former residents of the Iconic Village and Vintage Pads apartments recalled living with faulty smoke detectors. Further, they say apartment management employees were very “lax” about the condition of smoke detectors on the property.
Investigators have yet to determine the cause of the apartment fire. However, the lack of sprinklers and faulty smoke alarms attribute to the devastation of the blaze. Residents report not hearing alarms. Instead, they say there were awakened by the screams of other residents.
Resident Sarah Christie lived on the second floor of the Iconic’s Building 500. Christie just so happened to be at her boyfriend’s house at the time of the fire. She believes that the lack of fire extinguishers and sprinklers contributed to the rapid spread and death toll.
The complex was built prior to modern day fire codes. As such, the Iconic’s buildings lack fire safety equipment such as sprinkler systems. Authorities, however, are unsure of the date of the complex’s last inspection. The San Marcos Fire Chief, Les Stevens said the building met the required safety standards of 1970. However, local officials can’t require property managers to retrofit their buildings.
The property managers of the Iconic Village and Vintage Pads, Elevate Multifamily, said one-, two-, and three-bedroom units have one smoke detector in each room. Efficient apartments, on the other hand, have only one detector. The management company took over in June 2017 and claims that smoke detectors are checked regularly.
The city of San Marcos adopted the International Fire Code in 2015. Under the code, no fire protection can be out of service or unfixed without the approval of a fire code official.
While state law doesn’t require apartment buildings to be retrofitted with sprinkler systems, it does require buildings to have working smoke detectors on move-in day. Tenants are typically responsible for replacing batteries in detectors and reporting any issues to the apartment employees.
Your or your loved one may be able to recover losses associated with the fire. If an injury or death occurred, you may be able to file a claim to cover medical expenses. In addition, you may be able to recover compensation for pain and suffering. Families of loved ones may also be able to file a wrongful death claim. We have more than 40 years of experience helping fire injury victims. You have a limited time to file an apartment fire lawsuit. Our team is available 24/7 and is ready to review your case today for free.
Contact our firm to schedule a free consultation with a Carlson Law Firm apartment fire lawyer. If you or a loved one were in an apartment fire, it is important to remember the insurance company is not on your side. While they may collect information about the fire and your injuries, it is the insurance adjuster’s job to minimize the value of the claim as much as possible.