By Amy Wenk
As Sandy Springs fire officials continue to investigate the cause of an apartment fire at The Falls apartments on Spring Creek Lane, city officials say they want to know why a fire hydrant at the apartments didn’t work properly.
Several news reports said the fire occurred the night of July 12 and burned 16 units at the apartments off Brandon Mill Road, behind City Hall.
Sandy Springs Police spokesman Steve Rose confirmed the fire hydrant at the apartments malfunctioned when firefighters arrived to put out the fire. “I know there was an issue,” Rose said, but he was unaware of details.
Director of Community Development Nancy Leathers said that the fire hydrant belongs to the owners of apartment complex.
Asset Manager Jeffrey Fletcher with Lyon Apartment Companies, the company who manages the complex, would not comment. He referred questions to the company’s public relations department. No company spokesman returned the call July 16.
Mayor Eva Galambos said the city requires annual inspections of fire hydrants at apartment complexes.
“We have put pressure on the owners of the apartment complex,” Galambos said. “They have heard from our Community Development people.”
Sandy Springs Fire Rescue could not be reached for comment but city spokeswoman Katina Lear said, “it would be premature for the Fire Department to release its findings.”
City spokeswoman Judy Parker said the investigation will take about two weeks. She said the investigation will determine the cause of the fire and when the fire hydrant was last inspected. If the apartment owners are found to be in violation of the city’s apartment inspection ordinance, the city will take them to court, Parker said.
“Until the investigation is done and everything is sorted out, I don’t know if it’s a code [enforcement] issue,” Parker said.
Dist. 2 Councilwoman Dianne Fries said she expects City Manager John McDonough to brief city council members about the investigation at The Falls once he returns from vacation.
“I am sorry to say that I know nothing about it,” Fries said.
Fries also said there has been little discussion with the City Council regarding the city’s process for inspecting apartment complexes. “That stuff we’ve never even talked about … We are trying to sort things out.”