City extends deadline for apartment complexes to meet fire code
Eight Columbia complexes still not up to code
One year ago, the Columbia Fire Department sent notices to 37 rental properties that needed to upgrade their buildings to meet fire code.
Last month, 16 complexes still had not made the changes.
On Monday, eight didn't have manual pull stations installed, but had submitted plans. The deadline to have the pull alarms installed was originally Dec. 3.
The city has decided to extend the deadline, since all complexes have at least submitted a plan.
"Because of that, we extended that one-year time frame to March 31 of next year," said Battalion Chief Brad Fraizer with the Columbia Fire Department. "That will be a one-time extension."
Fraizer said they felt an extension was appropriate because all properties voluntarily submitted the plans.
"Despite the fact that we provided a one-year time frame and multiple notifications, for whatever reason, some properties weren't able to get things moving until the last minute" he said.
But for those properties that did what they were supposed to do, they are disappointed in the city's decision. They said all complexes had the same amount of time and think the complexes that did not meet the deadline should have to pay a fine at the very least.
Residents of the places who still aren't up to code are even more furious.
"It obviously just hasn't been a priority for them because it would have been easy for them to do if they had made it a priority," said Ash Street Place Apartments resident Tegan Blackwood.
Blackwood said the property owners recently just spent money painting and fixing up the outside of the buildings.
"Somewhere in there, they couldn't find the time or money to install something as simple as fire alarms to keep people safe," she said.
And residents at Campus View said they had no idea the building wasn't up to code.
"That's something we definitely would have reconsidered, you know, if we wanted to live here," said Campus View Resident Marjorie Perkins.
If the eight complexes out of code do not have the pull stations installed by March, they will face prosecution.
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