Displaced residents claim negligence from apartment complex, SAHA caused fire

The residents filed a civil lawsuit against the complex and the San Antonio Housing Authority

Residents who were displaced by a fire nearly a month ago are now filing a civil lawsuit, claiming their apartment complex’s lack of care caused the fire and should compensate renters affected.

SAN ANTONIO – Residents who were displaced by a fire nearly a month ago are now filing a civil lawsuit, claiming their apartment complex’s lack of care caused the fire and should compensate renters affected.

Lawyers representing the tenants sent an official notice to Burning Tree apartment complex, as well as the San Antonio Housing Authority, which owns the complex.

In late June, a building at Burning Tree was burnt ‘beyond repair,’ according to the San Antonio Fire Department. At least 19 people were displaced.

Among them is Jayla Campian, 17, who lost her two dogs.

“We were not able to keep nothing. Nothing was able to be saved. We are lucky that we’re alive,” Campian said.

The fire department reported the cause of the fire as undetermined.

However, the civil lawsuit notice given to the complex and SAHA claimed appliances were installed incorrectly, causing an electrical fire.

Campian said the fire took a mental toll on her and her family.

“I’ll see restaurants that have smoke coming out and I really get, like, feared or like worried. And the same thing with the fire alarms because the fire alarms didn’t go off when they were supposed to,” Campian said.

Through the lawsuit, they hope to be compensated for the property lost, their smoke inhalation injuries and items needed to restore their living situation.

“I want to see them take responsibility for what they have done, all the wrong that they have caused us. It’s not just us who lost. It’s everybody in those apartments who lost,” Campian said.

The attorney representing the renters presented SAHA and Burning Tree with a notice of the lawsuit. Within 60 days, an official civil lawsuit will be filed.

Burning Tree has not returned phone calls. SAHA did not make anyone available to speak about the lawsuit but said housing should be available to the tenants.

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About the Authors:

Camelia Juarez is a news reporter at KSAT 12. She joined the station in 2022. Camelia comes from a station in Lubbock, Texas. Now, she is back in her hometown. She received her degree from Texas State University. In her free time, Camelia enjoys thrifting, roller-skating and spending time with family and friends.

Luis Cienfuegos is a photographer at KSAT 12.