Eight days after a massive fire burned an apartment building to the ground, Nashville Fire investigators returned to the Brentwood Oaks apartment and found thirteen violations throughout the complex, including deficiencies with the fire alarm system in each of the buildings.
The inspection, obtained by News4 Investigates, cites that deficiencies in the fire alarm system must be fixed.
When asked for more details about the deficiencies, Joseph Pleasant, spokesman for Nashville Fire, wrote in an email they include missing batteries in smoke alarms, missing smoke detectors and trouble codes on panels, according to a Nashville Fire spokesman.
“As a precaution the fire inspector advised every fire alarm system be checked out due to the inconsistency found in the buildings,” Pleasant wrote.
Pleasant would provide information via email but declined requests for an interview to discuss the seriousness of the violations.
The fire alarm deficiencies come after survivors of the fire tell News4 Investigates that as the fire raged outside their building, they heard no alarms and the sprinklers did not activate.
“There was no fire alarm, no sprinklers had activated, no fire alarm, no smoke detector had activated,” said Amrit Thapa, who lost everything in the fire.
Following the fire, the Nashville Fire department released a statement reading that because of the extensive damage from the fire, they could not determine where it started or if fire suppression was impacted.
Shane Ray, former South Carolina state fire marshal and current president of the National Fire Sprinkler Association, reviewed the June 1 inspection of the buildings and the fire investigation on May 25th for News4 Investigates.
“If you owned this complex, what signal does this send to the people who live there?” asked News4 Investigates.
“I certainly would want them to know we are working with the appropriate professionals to get this corrected,” Ray said.
The inspection also requested that obstructions be removed that are blocking life safety equipment and that the complex have their sprinkler system evaluated.
News4 Investigates email and called the owner of the complex, Sentinel Real Estate Corporation out of NYC, asking for an interview, but those requests were declined.
In a statement, Sentinel wrote in part, “We have received and responded to the Nashville Fire Department’s inspection report, and we have hired an independent fire protection contractor to complete a thorough inspection of all units and systems and to address any maintenance needs detected. We conduct an annual inspection and maintenance of our fire safety system with a third-party contractor to ensure it remains in good working order, and we have and will continue to make any repairs in real time. We are in the process of engaging an additional consultant to further evaluate the sprinkler system. We continue to have a dialogue with the Fire Department and are fully cooperating with their investigation.”
News4 Investigates earlier reported that in both the May 24, 2021 fire and another in June 26, 2012 at the complex where another building burned to the ground, sprinklers were inside rooms.
In both fires, Ray said the investigations appear to show the fire spread outside, not under the interior sprinklers.
Ray pointed out because of the age of the complex, it is not required to have sprinklers on balconies, which has proven to put out fires that start on the outside.