INVESTIGATES: At least 3 prior fires at Westside apartment; management helping displaces residents

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — An Action News Jax investigation has uncovered previous fires at the Jax Heights apartment complex on the Westside. It comes 24 hours after a fire Monday night left at least two dozen people displaced.

RELATED: Westside apartment fire leaves dozens displaced, families having to start over

New 911 calls were also released describing the moments the fire was happening.

“There’s a fire, there’s smoke coming out of the whole building at the apartment complex,” a caller said.

“We are going to go ahead and get everyone on their way, OK?” the dispatcher said.

The aftermath from one of the units showed insulation everywhere, almost all items with smoke damage and the bathroom ceiling gone, exposed to the outside with hanging wires.

The fire left at least two dozen people without a home, including Savanna Williams.

“It could’ve been us. We could’ve been here and never made it out,” Williams said.

According to the city’s inspection page, Action News Jax learned there was a safety inspection done in August after a kitchen fire. On the code enforcement page, we learned there was a fire in 2015 resulting in $5,000 in damage and another in 2012 that left $50,000 in damage.

On Tuesday, the apartment’s management company said this latest fire may have been started by someone throwing a cigarette into a trash can, but the fire marshal is still investigating. Management also said its working to help those displaced and offering security deposit and rent refunds for those who want to move out.

“They didn’t have vacancies in none of the buildings, but they weren’t even worried,” Williams said. “Like, she told me you’re going to have to move, like that was it, straight up, ‘You’re going to have to move.’ Well, where am I going to move?”

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Williams said she got $500 from the Red Cross and her money back from management.

“Now, I have to figure out what’s next,” Williams said, “where my child is going to lay his head, what clothes he’s going to wear.”

On Tuesday, Action News Jax also learned the fire department has been out to this apartment nearly 150 times since 2019, including 56 times in 2019, 45 in 2020 and 45 so far in 2021.