A Charleston apartment complex had 64 fire safety violations

BERKELEY COUNTY, S.C. (WCSC) – A recent fire inspection by the Cainhoe Rural Fire and Rescue Department found 64 differences throughout the Sweetwater Apartments in Charleston.

The department inspected the complex throughout August and found inconsistencies with fire safety rules. Three of these were corrected during the inspection and discussed with the Sweetwater property manager, leaving another 61 discrepancies to be fixed.

The violations included not turning on emergency exit lights, blocking fire sprinklers, not turning on emergency lights, and fire extinguishers after their expiration date or not being tested.

Sweetwater resident Eric Stearns spoke with other residents in the complex who had no idea there were 64 violations in Sweetwater, leaving him and others concerned about their safety.

“If I wasn’t here, and my pets and the rest of my family were here, would they be safe? With this many violations, I don’t know if it would have happened or not.”

“Not having any fire extinguishers in the building is within their expiration date, that’s a problem. We don’t have emergency lights, so if we need to get out of the building, that’s a huge fire risk,” Stearns says. “There are a lot of people who live in this building.” “The building, if we all had to get out at the same time, we could be in a very dangerous situation.”

Sweetwater Apartments must take corrective action and fix the discrepancies by Sept. 24, according to a Cainhoy Rural Fire and Rescue Department report.

The complex says they worked with Berkeley County to extend the deadline for improvements to October 13.

When Live 5 visited the complex on Friday, the fire extinguisher and emergency lights in one building were not working or were past their service date.

“These violations show you that there has been a lack of interest in these things for a long time; “These things don’t happen overnight,” Stearns says.

The Sweetwater apartment complex gave Live 5 the following statement in response to the story:

Creating safe and welcoming environments for our residents is our top priority. Discrepancies are common with these fire department inspections and we always work to comply with fire department instructions as soon as possible after receiving them.

The notice date was September 13, 2023 and we are working quickly to resolve all items before the October 13, 2023 deadline included in the inspection report. Residents can be reassured that in the meantime there are no life safety concerns in relation to this matter; Important fire safety precautions and precautions remain in place at the property.

Stearns adds that communications and issues within the complex have been a problem for years.

“We were told several times that we would call someone;” “A call is never made,” he says. “I’ve been told several times that someone is coming; They don’t appear. “It’s a very lackluster response, and it was almost dismissed.”

(tags for translation) Cainhoy Rural Fire

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