Fifth Body Found in Wreckage of San Marcos Apartment

posted by 1200 WOAI - 

A fifth body was found last night in the rubble of the Iconic Village Apartments in San Marcos, meaning the last of the people that firefighters knew were unaccounted for has now been located, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

Although officials released the names of the five people who were known to be missing, the dead have not been identified yet, and officials say it could take as long as a week for the Travis County Medical Examiner's Office to make a full determination of the indentities and the cause of death.

Fire officials also announced last night that a large portion of the complex where the fire occurred on Friday has been cleared for re-occupancy.

Crews say although all five of the people they knew were missing have been accounted for, the search will continue.  Because the apartments were home to many Texas State University students, Fire Chief Les Stevenson says it is possible that some could have sublet their apartments for the summer, and the identity of that sublessee may not be on the official records.

And now the question is being raised about why the apartments didn't have sprinkler systems.

Stevenson says under Texas law, buildings built before municipal sprinkler ordinances were approved don't have to retrofit them.

"As an older town, we have structures, unfortunately, that were built and they are 'period correct,' and the safety systems that had to be in place at the time they were constructed are there," he said.

Stevenson says all buildings without installed sprinkler systems are inspected regularly to make sure that fire extinguishers and other fire suppression tools are avaialble.

Dennis Kincheloe, the Fire Marshal in Round Rock who works with the Texas Fire Marshal's Association, says that is the situation across the state.

"And that all has to do with when they were built, and what code we were under, and what the code requires," he said.

But San Antonio Fire Chief Charles Hood, with the cooperation of City Council, is attempting to change that situation.

Since the Wedgewood Senior Apartment fire in late 2014, Hood has been working with the City and with property owners to have sprinklers and other fire suppression systems retrofitted into multi family high rise structures.

PHOTO COURTESY: SPECTRUM NEWS AUSTIN

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