PHOENIX - They are the first line of defense when a blaze starts in your home: fire extinguishers.
But, a tenant at a Phoenix condominium complex reached out to ABC15 saying, management took theirs away. She is demanding action now after a fire ripped through a nearby unit on Tuesday night at the Dunlap Condominiums near 35th and Dunlap Avenues. The severe damage forced her out of her unit for at least a month now.
Karen Dinardo said that they used to have fire extinguishers right outside their units. But, she has not seen them since before 2011.
"I remember walking out the door and saying, 'What are you doing,' Dinardo recalled. "And he said, 'I'm taking your fire extinguishers out.' And I says, 'Why?' and he said, 'You don't need them.''
Dinardo now begs to differ with that statement after that fire broke out right next to her. She said that neighbors were forced to improvise while waiting for fire crews to arrive.
"All they had was a bucket of water," Dinardo said. "I mean, that's not going to work."
She believes if they had fire extinguishers, it would have contained the fire and made sure other units were not so severely damaged.
Captain Rob McDade with the Phoenix Fire Departments agrees.
"If you could pull the pin, point it at a safe distance - you're going to have a good chance of putting out that fire," Captain McDade explained.
He also said that Phoenix Fire Code mandates places like condominiums and apartments to have a fire extinguisher. So, Dinardo and other tenants’ claims are incredibly concerning.
"If you live in an area of a complex that has more than four units within one individual building, by code they have to provide fire extinguishers," explained Captain McDade.
"And you say, 'Listen - I live here. I'm concerned that there's not a working fire extinguisher. Can you please send somebody out to make sure that my building is up to code' and we'll get out there and we'll check it out," Captain McDade said.
The number to call to make a report is 602-262-6771.
After denying an on-camera interview request, the Board of Directors for the complex sent us a statement through their attorneys that said, “The safety of all Association residents is of paramount importance to the Association and its Board Members – Board Members reside on site as well. The Board is thankful that no residents were injured in the fire that occurred within a residential unit on December 26, 2017.
The Board regularly cooperates with City of Phoenix Fire Department safety inspections. Shortly after the recent fire, the Board took the opportunity to consult with fire professionals to initiate the process of reviewing the placement of portable fire extinguishers at designated locations within the community. The Board will continue to work with the City of Phoenix Fire Prevention Division to install portable fire extinguishers in designated locations as may be necessary.
The Board anticipates making all necessary changes as soon as possible, and the Association has already taken voluntary steps to comply with all City requirements and recommendations.”
However, Phoenix Fire said the building was in violation of city fire code. Since ABC15's story, Phoenix Fire has been in contact with the property managers and have ordered them to re-install the fire extinguishers.