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FIRE! One of the most feared words known to man. It strikes when you least expect and moves with a swiftness that shocks.
Yesterday, the Fresno Bee carried the story of a fire that had happened last year. It was tragic, loss of life was huge and one year later the effects f that tragic event came to an end. A judge awarded $29,000,000.00 to the family for their loss. The property owners had settled for $1,000,000.00, but the property management company had gone to court to fight the charges made against them.
It seems that the most damaging piece of evidence against the company was proof that units were without 'smoke detectors'.
MOI can not speak for the actions of that company.
What MOI can do is to tell of tragic consequences that can befall even the best of us.
Years ago, a partner and MOI had a building in San Francisco. It was a residential hotel, with 68 rooms, with double occupancy, there were about 135 souls living in the building at any given time. In the dead of night, MOI received a call at home in Walnut Creek, informing that the hotel was on fire and MOI should make haste and get into the City. Rang up a taxi and motored the 28 miles into the City. It turned out to be a 5 Alarm Fire, that is a pretty bad fire. The building was just barely standing when MOI arrived. The Fire Depart had pumped so much water onto the fire that the roof had collapsed and it was very unsafe to enter. The Fire Department needed to check the controls of the sprinkler system, and asked if MOI would show where in the basement the were. The Fire Department wanted to see if the water had been turned off. It had not. And the early warning system installed had worked perfectly, not a soul living in the building suffered any harm, all got out of the building. MOI never forgot that. Fire was to be prevented at any cost.
Since coming to Calaveras, MOI has had the good fortune to not have suffered any fires on the properties associated with. There was a fire on Glenn Street last summer, that had MOI out with a watering hose in the middle of the night, preventing embers from that fire from lighting the roofs at 135 N Calaveras. Smoke detectors have always been installed in units, and in some cases re-installed. Some tenants think it is cute to rip out the systems. Some tenants will even call Code Enforcement and complain about the lack of the smoke detectors, matters not that the tenants might well be the one who caused it to go missing.
Recently, a tenant at the El Capri called the Code Enforcement folks to complain about smoke detectors not being in place. Out right lied about them never having been installed, when one could clearly see where they had once hung.
Mind, tenants will tell many stories, but they will never tell of the over-crowding, or the smoking in bed, or other unsafe practices that can cause a flat to go up in flames. It is always the owner or the property management company that is the bad guy. Pure bullocks!
The story in the Fresno Bee was so horrid that MOI made a special note of it and sent an email to Councilwoman Sterling. Would like to share that with you:
Councilwoman Sterling, June 9, 2008
Front page of the Fresno Bee carries a story that is so very
tragic. It tells of the loss of life due to a fire and the awarding of
$29,000,000.00 to the families of the victims.
On June 24th of this year you voted against the 'Safe Neighborhood
Act'. You may well ask what this has to do with the tragic events
told in the Fresno Bee. Allow MOI to enlighten you.
The 'Safe Neighborhood Act' is more than just coppers catching the
clever clogs, it is about raising the bar of Civic Pride and Moral
Responsibility. It is the creation of a neighborhood that fosters
good behaviour and polices the activities of slumlords who operate
properties that create a danger to the community.
Slumlords who rent with no regard for human life, do more than
harms the tenants, they harm the whole community as well.
Illegal activity, unsafe conditions in flats, over-crowding of units
all lead to tragic ends.
Responsible landlords and management companies, working with the
coppers help prevent more than just crime, they prevent tragic loss
of human life.
Tenants who can remove fire fighting equipment, smoke detectors,
light fire burning cooking units right up against units, smoking of crack pipes,
and the tossing of fags into containers make the community unsafe,
for themselves and their neighbors.
The tragic fire and its aftermath will have its effect on landlords here
in Fresno. Many might think it unwise to continue to own rental units
and property management companies might not want to take on the
responsibility if there is the feeling that there is no help offered to
prevent these things from happening.
Mr. Ron Eisler, Mr. and Mrs. David Natal and Mr. and Mrs. Armando Garcia
are all property owners known to MOI. They have tried to operate
properties in a safe manner. It is not easy and the price paid for being
Civic Minded and Morally responsible is very high.
Tenants refuse to pay rent. Tenants move the whole world into units illegally.
Tenants remove or break smoke alarms. Tenants remove fire fighting equipment
from the complex. Tenants allow drug dealers in. Tenants operate illegal
day care centre.
Councilwoman Sterling, you do not live on Calaveras or in the neighborhood. It must
be easy for you to ignore conditions that harm.
MOI is not you. My obligation to owners and tenants is taken very serious. You will
never get the opportunity to lay blame for a tragic event at my door, or the door of
owners I know.
Do not think that you can say that about JD HOMES.
What will you do when there is a tragic fire at a JD HOMES property? Who will
tell the families that it happened because YOU did not care enough to force
conditions to be made proper?
Councilwoman Sterling, you will be made redundant in 2010. The lingering harm
done by your lack of action to help the community will continue.
Let there be a tragic fire on Calaveras or in the community due to your lack of
moral responsibility and MOI will personally come down to the City Council Meeting and
remind you of your responsibility.
119 N Calaveras St #E
Fresno, Ca 93701
Councilwoman Sterling and her staff have a neat trick they employ when the get mail they do not want to deal with, they just ignore. This will join the pile of mail sent that never got a reply. Councilwoman Sterling signed on to deal with the problems in the District, get a brilliant pay packet for part time work and many benefits. Never want the councilwoman to forget what harm comes to folks due to her inability to act. MOI stands by every word used. Will go even further and let the whole world know that if a property owned by a slumlord on Calaveras or in the neighborhood is set ablaze and folks suffer tragedy, MOI will march down to the City Council and point the finger at Councilwoman Cynthia Sterling.