• Company that runs Jacksonville high-rise that caught fire had failed inspection at another complex

    By: Jenna Bourne , Action News Jax


    JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - UPDATE 12/28: 

    JFRD just confirmed that there is no documentation that the broken fire alarm was fixed or followed up on.

    Original story:

    More than a week after a fire at Jacksonville Townhouse Apartments displaced 200 people, an Action News Jax Investigation has uncovered another failed fire inspection at another Jacksonville HUD apartment complex managed by the same company.

    “There was no fire alarm going off. And I heard nothing,” displaced Jacksonville Townhouse Apartments tenant Ernest Hull said.

    As the fire raged, Hull and multiple other displaced tenants said they had to rely on each other.

    “People going, knocking on the doors, saying, ‘Y’all get out, there’s a fire,’” Hull said.

    Jacksonville Fire Marshal Kevin Jones said he’s still investigating reports that not all the fire alarms were working at Jacksonville Townhouse Apartments.

    Weeks before, a Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department fire inspection found the fire pump there was broken.

    Now, Action News Jax has uncovered a failed JFRD fire inspection in July at another HUD apartment complex managed by the same company, Cambridge Management.

    The inspection said Hilltop Village Apartments on West 45th Street failed to maintain its fire alarm system. 

    “I’m not surprised,” Hull said.

    Cambridge Management spokesperson Katelynn DeSart said the fire alarm system issue at Hilltop Village Apartments “was resolved.”

    Action News Jax has followed up with DeSart and JFRD for more information on when and how the problem was fixed.

    Four of Cambridge Management’s 10 Jacksonville apartments received no JFRD fire inspection at all this year.

    JFRD spokesman Tom Francis said annual inspections at apartments are a goal, not a requirement.

    Victoria Brown lives at Cambridge Management’s University Plaza Apartments, where a JFRD inspection earlier this month found no violations.

    “From my knowledge, these are great apartments for low-income residents,” Brown said.

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