Hotel Property Owners Back in Compliance with Code
BROWNSVILLE – City officials said property owners of a Brownsville hotel had been contacted before for failing to meet city ordinance requirements.
Firefighters responded to a fire that sparked at the El Jardin Hotel's roof Saturday morning. The Cameron County Fire Marshal’s Office is currently investigating the blaze.
Brownsville’s code enforcement team said they require property owners to place wooden boards, locks and gates on abandoned property. It’s a way to ensure the property stays within city regulations.
Brownsville assistant city managers Miguel Lopez said they always make contact with the owner or renter of an abandoned property.
“We ensure we give them a citation or a warning and say you need to get this building. You need to get it in place, in compliance,” he said. “It is to secure it so that nobody can go onto the property and maybe hurt themselves.”
Brownsville Assistant Fire Chief Cesar Pedraza said they’re investigating a group called the Urban Explorers. He said it’s a group of people who take on thrill-seeking challenges. Their goal is to get onto and into abandoned private property and document it.
Pedraza said the trend is leading to more cases of trespassing onto El Jardin Hotel. He said his crews responded to another fire at the same building before Saturday.
“That hotel is very unsafe. There’s open elevator shafts, there’s holes in the floor large enough for an adult to fall through,” he said. “And being up on the rooftop, as we’ve seen on a lot of social media posts, can be very dangerous.”
The assistant fire chief said crews blocked off a street after high winds caused some of the glass windows to shatter and fall on Tuesday. He said it’s one of the dangers people face when trespassing into a decaying building.
“We’re trying to discourage teenagers, young adults and even some adults of performing those particular activities,” he said.
Lopez said the city will continue to collaborate with other department to stay on top of any suspicious activity in nearby abandoned buildings.
“We also have inspectors going around the neighborhood looking for abandoned and vacant buildings,” he said. “And those that are, that have been identified as vacant buildings, we’re making sure they’re in compliance.”
Brownsville code enforcement said the property owner of El Jardin were back in compliance on Tuesday.
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