Firefighters from the San Marcos Fire Department spray water from the department’s bucket truck onto the roof of Building 500 at Iconic Village Apartments Friday morning after a fire broke out there in the pre-dawn hours. Daily Record photos by Denise Cathey
At least 3 deceased, 6 hurt, 200 displaced, 1 missing
Emergency personnel are beginning search and recovery efforts today as five people remain unaccounted for after a Friday fire at the Iconic Village and Vintage Pads apartment complexes.
At press time Saturday, city officials reported that none of the five missing apartment residents had checked in with the city. The missing residents were identified as James Miranda, Haley Frizzell, Belinda Moats, David Ortiz and Dru Estes. The city said the residents’ families have been notified of the ongoing search. Anyone with information about these residents is asked to call the city’s information hotline at 512-754-2291 as soon as possible.
“We will continue to ask for anyone to call,” said Kristy Stark, communications director with the city.
With their platform lowered to ground level, firefighters wait to continue spraying down the building until another firefighter can break open the windows in the apartments facing the parking lot. Daylight streams from a breach in the roof of the buiding, which was one of several that burned. Investigation into the cause of the fire is continuing.
Six people suffered injuries in the fire, which broke out at Iconic Village at about 4:30 a.m. Friday. One resident suffered critical injuries that required transport to San Antonio Military Medical Center for treatment; others sustained injuries that were non-life-threatening.
The fire, which displaced approximately 200 people, began at Iconic Village and engulfed Building 500 there before spreading to Building 300. One building at Vintage Pads was also damaged in the fire.
Exhausted first responders rest under a canopy set up at the scene. The fire drew mutual aid from several area departments.
Fire departments from Kyle, Buda, New Braunfels, South Hays, Seguin and Canyon Lake assisted San Marcos firefighters in extinguishing the blaze.
Once the investigation begins, San Marcos Fire Marshal Kelly Kistner said, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (BATF) and the state fire marshal’s office will assist in determining the cause of the fire.
“BATF is assisting us due to availability of additional personnel to assist our staff in the fire investigation,” Stark said. “They are particularly valuable partners due to their extensive training in this area.”
Using a fire truck with a hydraulic platform firefighters spray down the Iconic Village apartment complex from above. Contaminants from the building fouled Sessom Creek and the San Marcos River on Friday, closing the popular waterway to tourists and locals alike.
City officials would not comment on reports of inadequate or non-functioning fire alarms or fire extinguishers in the apartment buildings.
“That will be part of the fire marshal’s investigation, and we will release information as soon as it is available,” Stark said.
Heavy smoke from the fire obscured the sky as firefighters worked to douse the blaze. One unit at a neighboring complex also burned. Daily Record photo by Gerald Castillo
According to county records, Iconic Village was built in 1970, and Vintage Pads was built in 1963.
The city announced Friday night that there will be a press conference Monday to provide updated information on the fire operations and the investigation.
Residents and neighbors watch from behind caution tape as the firefighters continue to try and put out the fire.
George Davis with San Marcos Hays County EMS helps bring in a case of water for an American Red Cross volunteer at the temporary shelter for fire victims at the San Marcos Activity Center.
Elizabeth Wills, of the American Red Cross, gets information from displaced apartment resident Alexandra Heguy and her companion Thomas Franki.
**UPDATE: As of 1:30 p.m. Sunday, July 22, Fire investigators recovered three bodies from the scene of the fire that caused extensive damage at Iconic Village apartments and Vintage Pads apartments.
**UPDATE: As of 10:30 a.m. Monday, July 23, A fourth victim has been recovered according to officials.