With two fires at Andalucia Apartments of Palm Springs in a couple months, residents we talked to are worried. Some are moving out. Here’s what happened when we confronted management:
“We’d like to talk to management about the fires,” we asked a receptionist after walking through the open office doors.
The manager came out of her office, put her hands on our camera lens and said, “I’m sorry. We have no comment.”
We explained, “There’s been two fires in the past few months.”
“No comment.” answered the manager. She still had her hands on our camera lens.
“Don’t the residents deserve some answers?” we asked.
While escorting out the office door, the manager continued, “Will you please leave my office? Thank you.”
“Do the residents deserve some answers at all? Nothing at all? You have nothing to say?” we asked as the door was shut on us.
Resident Sanah Stewart said, “We’re definitely going to be looking for another place and hopefully they upgrade their stuff. This is terrible. It’s just really bad.”
A major fire here in October displaced several families. There are no sprinklers inside the apartments. Because the complex was built before 1974, that’s not against the law.
California law states apartment managers are required to test and maintain every smoke alarm once a year. When we investigated after October’s fire, we found alarming details from residents.
When we asked resident Herminda Alvillar, “When was the last time they came to check on your fire alarm?” Alvillar responded, “Never. Not in my unit. I used to live upstairs. I moved downstairs and they’ve never been here.”
Another resident answered the same question saying, “Not that I’ve known. No, they never came in and said, ‘can we check it?'”
Even now, some residents say the fire alarms hardly work.
“My mother and law, thankfully they got out. I’m terrified. I came down the road and I was just worried. I was hoping they got out. She was saying she didn’t even hear the alarm. It sounded like a clock alarm. It wasn’t even loud enough,” said Sanah Stewart.
We went to Palm Springs Fire Headquarters to get answers. They tell us they are having a meeting with Andalucia Apartment owners to get them to update their fire alarms to have strobe lights. Other fire protection measures may be upgraded to meet current fire code instead of the decades old fire codes when this place was built.
Palm Springs Fire officials say they’ve seen good signs from the apartment complex owners to update the fire safety systems.