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Dozens of residents to evacuate after ‘Red Tag’ order issued for Salt Lake City apartment complex

Posted at 12:49 PM, Feb 11, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-11 21:49:51-05

SALT LAKE CITY — Dozens of residents at an apartment complex in Salt Lake City are being evacuated after fire officials posted a “Red Tag” order for the building, which they said does not meet fire code.

According to press release from the Salt Lake City Mayor’s Office, the Fire Marshal issued the order Monday for the Georgia Apartments, located at 203 East and 2100 South.

The order deems the property unsafe to occupy. Of particular concern is that cold weather has caused the building’s sprinkler pipes to freeze. This issue and others create “extreme fire danger” at the complex, according to the press release.

The city estimates about 42 units at the complex are occupied and said they are taking steps to assist those residents.

City officials will monitor the building for 72 hours in a Fire Watch, which will allow the building to remain occupied for three more days. A housing outreach center has been established for the affected residents at the Salt Lake County Government Complex, Room 120.

The press release indicates the City Attorney’s Office sent a notice to the property owner on February 8 regarding a re-inspection for Monday. An inspection on December 4, 2018 and Monday’s inspection found the following issues:

1: Fire Escapes not certified every five years per International Fire Code (IFC) 1104.16.5 and 1104.16.5.1
2: Egress blocked/restricted by debris to include couches, tires, mattresses and other waste type material IFC 304.1, 304.2 and 315.3.2
3: Wet sprinkler system in unconditioned space (under 40 degrees) due to missing windows, doors and nonfunctional heating system per 2013 NFPA 13 8.16
4: Missing Fire Extinguishers resulting in a greater than 75’ of travel (Must be in every apartment and areas listed in 906.1 or as listed in 906.3)
5: Missing smoke detectors which must be maintained per 2015 IFC 1103.8
6: Vegetation and trees interfering with access to the FDC, must maintain proper spacing per 2015 IFC 912.4.2
7: Electrical wiring not to code (exposed wiring running from electrical boxes to other electrical item and use of extension cords) per 2015 IFC 605.6, 605.9 and 605.5
8: Insulation and wiring on sprinkler pipes not permitted per 2013 NFPA 13 8.16

The city also details separate issues at the complex, saying the owner has $4,200 in outstanding fees relating to violations of housing and zoning codes.

The owner has also been suspended from the city’s “Good Landlord Program” as of September of last year and owes more than $13,000 in fees.

Salt Lake City Police responded to 647 calls for service at the Georgia Apartments in 2018, which the city states is a dramatic increase from the 213 calls for service at that address in 2017.

“The calls included: drug problems, fights, domestic disturbances, trespassing, and a number of other criminal activities,” the release states.

Fox 13 News covered a fire at the complex in July of 2016.

File: The aftermath of a fire at the Georgia Apartments in 2016.

Fox 13 News is speaking with displaced residents and city officials and will update this story as more details emerge.

See below for more complete details regarding the evacuation transition plan from the city:

  • 72-hours of “Fire Watch” service, allowing the building to stay occupied for three days. Fire Watch service consists of 24-hour safety inspections of the building while it is being evacuated.

  • To assist residents with housing needs, a Housing Outreach Center has been established at the Salt Lake County Government Complex, South Building Room 120. The Outreach Center will be open to residents Monday 12:00pm – 5:00pm; Tuesday 9:00am – 12:00pm, 5:00 – 7:00pm; Wednesday 12:00pm – 5:00pm. All occupied units were notified of Outreach Center.

  • Service providers at the Outreach Center include: Salt Lake City and Salt Lake County Housing Authority, Utah Community Action, Salt Lake City Police Department’s Community Connection Center, Department of Workforce Services, the Road Home, and the Other Side Academy, which is providing free moving services to residents.

  • Individuals interested in helping by providing rent and deposit assistance, should contact Tony Milner at 801-792-7395.