Fire extinguisher reliability a concern for apartment residents following overnight fire

Tags show extinguishers yearly inspection done in 2015

SAN ANTONIO – Hearing his dog barking alerted Joe Montez to trouble in the kitchen.

A grease fire was just starting when Montez said he reached under his kitchen sink to grab the fire extinguisher that came with his Southeast side apartment.

“I pulled the tag off of it and pulled the clip and it just didn’t go. Nothing came out of it,” Montez said.

READ THE ORIGINAL REPORT: Apartment resident claims fire extinguishers malfunctioned during fire 

He said it was the same story with the one his neighbor gave him and two others thrown down to him by people living above him at Club View Apartments in the 3900 block of East Southcross.

“I ran in there but by then, it was engulfed in flames, big flames,” Montez said.

The San Antonio Fire Department managed to put it out quickly, but Montez and his neighbors said they believe firefighters wouldn’t have been needed if the fire extinguishers had worked.

They said they saw the tags showing all the fire extinguishers had their last yearly inspection by a licensed, certified company in November 2015.

Randy Jenkins, division chief of fire prevention for the San Antonio Fire Department, said that otherwise, apartment management must do the inspections. 

SEE WHAT'S REQUIRED DURING INSPECTIONS

When asked if they’d been inspected or if there was log showing how often it’s been done, Gabby Alvarez, Club View’s manager, said, “I have no comment, sorry.”  

While some may think fire extinguishers last forever, Jenkins said many have 10-year limited warranties from the date they were manufactured.

FIRE SAFETY TIPS, EXTINGUISHER INFORMATION

He said those dates can be found at the bottom of the fire extinguisher or on a plastic or metal label on the extinguisher itself.

Jenkins said it’s recommended people learn how to use them before they’re needed.

Despite losing everything he’s worked for as a barber, Montez said, “The Lord will help me get it. I gained it and he’ll help me get it back.”

A volunteer trainer for youth athletic teams, Montez also said he’s just grateful his three children were not home at the time of the fire.


About the Author:

Jessie Degollado has been with KSAT since 1984. She is a general assignments reporter who covers a wide variety of stories. Raised in Laredo and as an anchor/reporter at KRGV in the Rio Grande Valley, Jessie is especially familiar with border and immigration issues. In 2007, Jessie also was inducted into the San Antonio Women's Hall of Fame.