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Posted on: July 31, 2018

On-Scene Portion of Fire Investigation Concludes

The San Marcos Fire Department; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF); San Marcos Fire Marshal; San Marcos Police Department; and State Fire Marshal’s Office have completed the on-scene portion of the investigation of the July 20 fire at the Iconic Village apartment complex that killed five and injured at least seven.


After receiving a request for support from the San Marcos Fire Department, ATF activated the National Response Team (NRT), who responded to the scene to assist with the origin and cause investigation.


ATF personnel arrived on July 20 and used a systematic approach to examine the fire scene and determine the origin and cause of the fire. In conjunction with the on-scene investigation, members of the investigative team conducted over 100 interviews.


The NRT determined the origin of the fire, and an on-going investigation is being conducted by the investigative partners. In the coming weeks, after laboratory testing and analysis is complete, the final classification of the fire will be announced. At this time, no further information concerning the ongoing investigation or the details surrounding the investigation will be released.


“The City expresses our gratitude to the multitude of agencies and municipalities who assisted in the fire response and particularly to the ATF for their efforts and expertise displayed throughout the investigation,” said City Manager Bert Lumbreras. “In addition to the tireless efforts of Fire Chief Les Stephens and our emergency personnel, I want to commend Fire Marshal Kelly Kistner for demonstrating the aptitude and investigative knowledge that led us to make him part of the City team this past May.”


The ATF has released the scene back to local officials, who plan to maintain possession through mid-day today when it will be released to the owners of the complex.

 

Initial findings


Through the course of the investigation, it was determined that battery-powered smoke alarms, compliant with Texas Property Code 92.255, were installed within individual apartments. (Reference: Texas Property Code 92.255; amended on 7/18/2015) Inspection reports provided by the Iconic Village management company indicate that inspections of the smoke alarms had recently been completed.


A search of City records indicate that a property and fire inspection was last completed at Iconic Village and Village Pads on May 6, 2014 by Fire Marshal personnel. Prior to this, a Certificate of Occupancy inspection was conducted on November 24, 2009 as part of a change of ownership of the apartment property.


The City of San Marcos has adopted the 2015 International Fire Code and the 2015 International Property Maintenance Code, including local amendments. Fire prevention and protection is detailed in Chapter 38 of City code with Building and Building Regulations included in Chapter 14. Links to the Texas Property Code, ICC codes, City code with amendments, and the property and fire inspection reports can found online at www.sanmarcostx.gov/apartmentfire.


Anyone with information pertaining to the fire or the investigation is asked to call the San Marcos Fire Marshal’s office at 512.805.2600.


About the ATF National Response Team

 

Since its inception in 1978, the NRT has deployed 830 times. The NRT has deployed fifteen times, including this deployment, in fiscal year 2018, which began Oct. 1, 2017.

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