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Belinda Moats, 21, of Big Wells has been identified as the last victim of the fire at Iconic Village Apartments.

Fifth and final victim from Iconic Village now identified

Fatal Fire
Sunday, August 5, 2018

The fifth victim of the deadly fire at Iconic Village Apartments has been identified, the city said Friday.

The remains of 21-yearold Belinda Moats of Big Wells were identified using DNA analysis conducted by the Travis County Medical Examiner’s Office.

Moats and the four other victims — 19-year-old Haley Frizzell, 21-year-old Dru Estes. 21-year-old David Ortiz and 23-year-old James Miranda — were all in building 500 of the circa 1970 apartment complex. Their remains were identified July 26.

Authorities say that building is where the early-morning fire started on July 20; however, they say it will be weeks before a cause of the blaze is known.

The fire started around 4:30 a.m. on Friday, July 20 and quickly swept through the apartments, jumping to the Vintage Pads next door.

Iconic Village does not have sprinklers, and they were not required under city code because of the building’s age. The question of functioning smoke alarms is an open one — residents insist they did not hear any alarms sound that morning; while the city said it was “determined that battery-powered smoke detectors” in compliance with state law were in every apartment and that apartment management maintained that “inspection of the smoke alarms had been recently completed.”

The last time the city had performed a property and fire inspection was four years ago. Iconic Village was issued a certificate of occupancy in 2009 when ownership changed.

Within hours of the fire, which was fought by firefighters from a number of area agencies, the five victims had been listed as “unaccounted for.” That same day, investigators from state and federal agencies poured into town to work with local authorities on finding victims and getting to the root of what had occurred and why.

Investigators with the National Response Team of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms completed the on-scene portion of their work last week and turned the property back over to the owners of the complex, San Marcos Green Investors. Elevate Multifamily is listed as the manager for the property. Listed as specific manager for Iconic Village is Deborah Jones.

All of the victims except Miranda were or had been students at Texas State University.

Phillip Miranda, James Miranda’s father, has filed a lawsuit against both companies and Jones in connection with his son’s death, claiming “negligence and gross negligence.” He is seeking in excess of $1 million.