Jacksonville fire rescue officials say 115 people were displaced after a fire at a high-rise apartment complex Monday.
Video showed flames coming from an eighth story window at the Jacksonville Townhouse Apartments on Philips Highway before 4 a.m.
New video from @JFRDJAX of high-rise apartment fire in #Jacksonville. Officials say 115 residents were displaced and six people, including a firefighter, were hospitalized https://t.co/TQ9FobGmM2 pic.twitter.com/Px6QV0Qo7T— ActionNewsJax (@ActionNewsJax) December 18, 2017
According to documents, the apartment complex serves as Section 8 housing for elderly residents.
Jacksonville Fire Rescue officials say at least six people, including a firefighter, were taken to the hospital after the fire.
#Jacksonville Townhouse Apts leadership told Fire Marshal they'd replace broken fire pump YESTERDAY. This morning, 5 people in the Section 8 housing for low-income seniors were injured. I checked, and they never even pulled permit to replace. Live at 5 on CBS47 @ActionNewsJax pic.twitter.com/cmxksFLwz0— Jenna Bourne (@jennaANjax) December 18, 2017
Firefighters went from room-to-room searching for residents. At least 115 people are at a shelter on Spring Park Road because of the fire, officials say.
The Jacksonville Transportation Authority provided buses to help people evacuate.
Documents show the fire marshal wrote a letter to Jacksonville Townhouse Apartments on Dec. 1 saying the fire pump and/or sprinklers did not work.
The letter said the building must be evacuated or employee must conduct an hourly fire watch.
Fire Marshal wrote this letter to Jacksonville Townhouse Apartments on Dec. 1, saying fire pump &/or sprinklers did not work. Says building must be evacuated or employee must conduct hourly "fire watch." 5 injured in fire this morning. @ActionNewsJax pic.twitter.com/CFtiNRi666— Jenna Bourne (@jennaANjax) December 18, 2017
The company that manages Jacksonville Townhouse Apartments says management believes all sprinklers and smoke alarms were working Monday.
Management company for Jacksonville Townhouse Apartments, where 5 injured in fire this morning, says management believes all sprinklers and smoke alarms worked. #ANJaxInvestigates at 5 on CBS47 @ActionNewsJax pic.twitter.com/O6zuwFY0ke— Jenna Bourne (@jennaANjax) December 18, 2017
On a fire inspection notice from Nov. 30, leadership at Jacksonville Townhouse Apartments told the Jacksonville Fire Marshal they would replace the building’s broken fire pump by Dec. 17.
That would have been the day before the fire.
Action News Jax checked the building’s permits, and the last permit was issued in 2016.
That means the Section 8 housing’s leaders have not even requested the permit it’s supposed to have before it replaces that fire pump.
Jacksonville Townhouse Apartments had until Dec. 30 before the fire marshal was scheduled to re-inspect.
A Dec. 1 email from the fire marshal said inspections show the fire pump was not working.
In that email, the fire marshal gave Jacksonville Townhouse Apartments the option to do a “fire watch” or to evacuate the building.
A fire watch requires the building to have a security guard or employee whose sole job is to patrol the building hourly checking for signs of smoke or fire.
The building’s management company, Cambridge Management, told Action News Jax all fire sprinklers and smoke alarms worked as intended.
The company sent the following statement:
“Our hearts go out to our residents who have been affected by the fire at Jacksonville Townhouse Apartments.
At this time, we are conducting an internal investigation to ensure that fire safety protocols were followed and to identify any instances of non-compliance. We will fully accommodate the needs of the fire marshal and investigators throughout the investigation process.
We are grateful to the American Red Cross for the services their staff and volunteers are providing to our displaced residents. We look forward to serving our residents in any way possible until this matter is resolved and are working to restore their homes as quickly as possible.”
#Jacksonville Fire Marshal confirms Jacksonville Townhouse Apartments notified this month they had inoperable life safety system & must institute "fire watch." That means employee must be dedicated to checking for fires every 30 min-1 hr. 5 people were hurt in fire this morning pic.twitter.com/PaxlgIyNoW— Jenna Bourne (@jennaANjax) December 18, 2017
Update: Crews in the Fire Apartment advise the Fire is out. Smoke, victim, evacuations & extension is now #JFRD main concern— JFRDincidents (@JFRDIncidents) December 18, 2017
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