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UPDATE: Rescuers Recover Remains Of Five People Who Died In Burnt Apartments In San Marcos

The ATF is investigating but the cause of the fire has not been determined yet

San Marcos Mayor John Thomaides (center) provided an update on the recovery efforts during a press conference held on Monday morning.

The City of San Marcos said Monday that the remains of five people have been discovered in two apartment buildings destroyed by fire in that city this past weekend.

The City noted in a news release that “recovery efforts will continue until all areas are searched and cleared” and added that the bodies have been transported to the Travis County Medical Examiner’s office for identification.

Positive identification could take more than a week.

Additionally, five residents of the apartments remain missing. They are James Miranda, Haley Frizzell, Belinda Moats, Dru Estes and David Ortiz, who is originally from Pasadena.

San Marcos is approximately 30 miles southwest of Austin. The apartment buildings are the Iconic Village Apartments and Vintage Pads Apartments, which served as off-campus residences for students attending Texas State University.

City officials announced the bodies were found Sunday and added that five people are still unaccounted for.

Local media outlets reported that David Ortiz,  a young man from Pasadena, is among those unaccounted for.

Over 200 people displaced

Over 200 residents have been displaced.

The fire injured at least six other people, including one who is being treated for life-threatening injuries.

The Austin-American Statesman reported some survivors say they were alerted by knocks on their doors, rather than fire or smoke alarms.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) is investigating, but the cause of the fire has not been determined yet. Officials say the investigation could take months.

Many survivors said no fire or smoke alarms alerted them to the fire.

San Marcos Fire Marshal Kelly Kistner said at a press conference held Monday that there were no sprinkler systems installed because the buildings were built around 1970.

“There’s been no remodel that we are aware of that would require them to have brought sprinklers up to date or into the building. The building was in its original condition as it was code compliant when it was built. Sprinklers were not a requirement of construction at that time and they are not a requirement of existing buildings given the current code,” Kistner noted.

San Marcos Fire Department Chief Les Stephens said there is no requirement for older buildings to come up to current code unless a major remodel is planned. “As an older town, we have structures, unfortunately, that were built, and they’re period correct, and the safety of the things that had to be in place at the time they were constructed is there.”

The fire injured at least six people, including one person treated for injuries at San Antonio Military Medical Center.

Resource Center

The City of San Marcos will host a Resource Center for all residents of the Iconic Village apartments, as well as residents of Buildings L & M at Vintage Pads apartments on Tuesday and Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the San Marcos Activity Center.

Organizations will be on site to answer questions and provide information on assistance programs available to residents affected by the fire.

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