NewsCovering Kern County


Resident blames local property management company for apartment fire

Posted at 7:41 PM, Jun 20, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-20 22:41:21-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — 23ABC has learned new details about a property that went up in flames Wednesday and displaced several families in central Bakersfield.

The property management company listed on the apartments is the same company who owned an Oildale mobile home where a five-month-old baby lost her life three years ago.

One resident said the fire on Wednesday could have been prevented.

"I turned around and I started seeing a lot of dark smoke so I open my curtains and the next thing you know I saw fire," South M Street apartment complex resident Gladys Beltran said.

Beltran, her four kids and their dog are still out of their home following the fire that started in this grass area behind their apartment complex. However, she told 23ABC the fire could have been prevented.

"Because the yard in the back behind our gate right here it's nothing but dead grass, like dead weed grass, very long, they didn't even cut it..they didn't take action...we told the manager that it will start fire if you don't cut it and they would tell us that's not their worry, that its not their apartment and that back there is not their property," Beltran said.

Beltran's apartment complex is listed as being owned by the Pama Management company, who has had a history of problems in Kern County.

Back in January of 2016 court documents show there were no working smoke detectors inside a mobile home in Oildale, where a fire broke out and a five-month-old baby lost her life. Documents also reveal that the property was also owned by Pama Management.

"They couldn't get past the flames to get to the baby and then just watched the baby burn up right in front of their eyes," Attorney Jim Procrass who represented the infant's family said.

Pama Management was charged with involuntary manslaughter by an unlawful act in April of 2018, but the case was dismissed in November due to insufficient evidence. The family of the baby settled their civil suit with Pama Management last year for an undisclosed amount.

On Thursday, 23ABC reached out to the Pama Management company about Wednesday's fire and they did not respond for a comment.

Beltran and her family are still left with the burden of being displaced after notifying the Pama Management company as well.

"You're talking about six people in one hotel," Beltran said.

It is still unclear what caused the fire or who is responsible for maintaining the grass behind the apartment.