On July 20, the Iconic Village apartment complex caught fire without warning, killing 5 San Marcos residents—one victim was the 23-year-old son of our client. Our investigation is revealing a startling picture of an outdated apartment complex that lacks even the basic safety features that all buildings should have.
Attorney Kurt Arnold was quoted on KVUE-ABC highlighting the key factors that endangered residents, saying, "The origination of the fire is important, but ultimately there are going to be fires that start from time to time in places, and you've got to make sure you've got everything in place to give people the opportunity to escape."
Spectrum News reports that the fire broke out at around 4:30 AM when most people were sleeping. That's what our client's son was doing when the fire alarms failed and the fire spread without residents' knowledge. This source also highlights another part of our case against the apartment managers: the complex failed to inspect or test their own systems, warn residents that such hazards existed, and properly train employees.
Failure to Inspect, Failure to Warn
Our firm is gathering evidence that the apartment complex did not have a functioning fire alarm system, meaning sleeping residents had no warning when their complex caught fire. Additionally, the complex was built in 1970 and lacked fire suppression systems.
The City of San Marcos reported that the smoke alarms were allegedly inspected by Iconic Village management fairly recently, according to paperwork given to the City. However, resident Jackson King remembers Iconic Village having a large number of maintenance issues. "We would go months without any repair to our A/C unit or our water heater," he recalls. King reportedly called his own repair service because maintenance failed to respond.
In an interview with KXAN, Mr. Arnold noted that Iconic Village didn't give residents a chance to escape, "which is something I think everyone expects at large apartment complexes."
“They were trying to do the bare minimum or not even that,” Mr. Arnold said in another report. “They’ve got an obligation to put aside the appropriate amount of funds to ensure that they’re running a business in a safe way.”
Ultimately, our firm wants to help our client’s family move forward—but we're also fighting for the residents who are still in danger, who are still at risk due to the Iconic Village management company and other property management companies that fail to ensure basic safety measures are in place. "The first thing you want to know is why it happened, and then you want to ensure it never happens again," said Mr. Arnold, "and one way you ensure it never happens again is shining light on the conduct that allowed it to happen."