Looking at code issues at Azalea Park after fire displaces 15

Published: Dec. 9, 2021 at 9:04 PM EST
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Fifteen people aren’t able to go home after a fire destroyed part of an Augusta apartment complex. Crews worked to put out flames at Azalea Park Apartments on Thursday night.

Everyone who lives in Building M made it out safely. Now the Red Cross is helping the people who’ve been displaced.

But the damage is significant. The entire roof is gone and now it is just skeletal remains. The windows up top are shattered and debris is still covering the ground. The Red Cross says seven different families were affected, with kids ranging from 3 months old to teenagers.

We spoke with a woman Thursday who lived in these apartments early this year. She says she was so afraid for her well-being, she moved out after 11 days. She says her apartment had only one smoke detector that didn’t work. Code enforcement has over 200 code enforcement violations in the last three years. Including Building M.

But the former resident says things need to change now for the people who live there.

“We could have been looking at a massive fire that killed 15 people, you know, and it’s just so much, and I feel sorry for them because it’s getting close to the holidays. They have to be placed places, you know. People want to be in the comforts of their home, they want to set up their tree. They’ve got food in their refrigerator, they’re ready for their loved ones to come up, and I feel so sorry. I feel really sorry for them,” said Garian Henry, a former Azalea Park Apartments resident.

We’re working with code enforcement to get copies of the violations in this specific building.

After our I-Team report aired, code enforcement went to commissioners for the first time in years and took action against Azalea Park’s business license. It’s on probation through the end of the year, when the city will take another look at whether it has fixed all of the code violations.

Investigators say they’re still looking to find the exact cause of the fire.

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