A group of Jacksonville property owners and their management company have reached a settlement with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development after a federal investigation revealed the building’s sprinkler system didn’t work during a 2017 fire at a senior housing complex.
According to WJCT news partner News4Jax, more than 250 residents, mostly senior citizens, had to evacuate the Jacksonville Townhouse Apartments at 3465 Phillips Highway during that December 2017 fire, which left five residents and a Jacksonville firefighter injured.
News4Jax reported that prior to the fire, the fire marshal had issued several safety warnings to complex managers, saying the fire pump and sprinkler system weren’t working.
Following the fire, a federal investigation confirmed that the building’s fire pump and sprinkler system weren’t working at the time.
As part of a subsidy contract with HUD, the owners were required to provide safe and sanitary housing.
To avoid court proceedings, Jacksonville Elderly Tower I Limited Partnership, its general partner Jacksonville Elderly Tower I GP and management company Cambridge Management Inc. agreed to pay HUD $75,000 in administrative fees.
While none of the parties involved admitted to any wrongdoing as part of the settlement, the property owners and management company did commit to making the development more accessible for its elderly residents and installing additional fire protection measures.