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Lax Building Codes a Problem in Rural Hidalgo County

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Posted: Jan 2, 2013 6:36 PM

Updated: Jan 3, 2013 4:29 PM

HIDALGO COUNTY - A deadly fire in Hargill has brought to light the lack of building codes in Hidalgo County.

Shoddy electrical work is common in rural areas of the county, and residents often split one electrical hookup to two homes.

"I know it wasn't safe, but you have to do what you have to do," Rodrigo Jimenez said. He is not a certified electrician, yet he sometimes performs electrical work.

"I do cabinets for a living. Most of the time, where I work, you see plumbers, electricians and I get to see how they do it. That's why I ended up doing it, and besides I call one of my friends who is an electrician. He helped me out a little bit," Jimenez said.

A CHANNEL 5 NEWS crew showed Jimenez the report of a fire where three children died in Hargill.

"It's kind of hard to see. It can happen to me, you know," Jimenez said.

County officials said the lack of building codes complicates an already difficult situation.

Hidalgo County Planning Director Tomas J. Arredondo said the county is in favor of making changes, but it needs the state's approval.

"The local legislators have proposed this for a number of years. The difficulty is bringing it to a state level. A lot of the counties in Texas are not in support of something like that," Arredondo said.

Topics: hidalgo county, fire, codes, hargill, rodrigo jimenez, tomas arredondo

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