Spanish Oaks apartment manager working to fix code violations - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

Spanish Oaks apartment manager working to fix code violations


On Tuesday, close to 200 residents of the Spanish Oaks Apartments were still not allowed to go home after Monday's fire destroyed eight units and damaged 22 others.

But it's not the fire damage keeping residents out. Fire investigators turned off the power to the complex because of several code violations that they say could put residents in danger.
On Monday, the power was cut for the firefighters' safety while they battled the massive fire, but once investigators started looking around they found other reasons to keep the power off.

"Just going through other buildings over the last couple of hours, we've confirmed other wire issues," fire investigator Robert Loveless said. "We have reason to not have a level of comfort that we'd like. We've documented problems in each building."

Loveless says the fire started because the cord of an air conditioning unit was spliced into another cord to make it longer. Spanish Oaks Manager Ronald Morton says that was the resident's fault, but he does admit there are problems with other units.

"We've had some issues in our vacant apartments, but they don't have power to them. They are just waiting for us to get to them," Morton said. "We're addressing that as we get them ready to rent, and they are up to code when we do rent them."

But these issues are nothing new. Loveless says Spanish Oaks has a history of code violations over the last few years, and his investigators have had to go to the complex several times to look at resident's complaints.

Morton says he just started managing the complex in March and he's been working to fix many of the problems that were already there.

"I've only been here three months and code inspectors and fire marshals are under the impression I've made progress," Morton said.

Loveless says no one can live in the complex until a licensed electrician signs off that all the code violations have been taken care off.

"I would much rather displace some people and inconvenience them than have someone get hurt or killed," Loveless said.

Morton says he is working closely with code inspectors to get the issues resolved, and he hopes his residents can return home by the end of the week.

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