Sacajawea Apts. Inspected, Shutdown: Owner & Residents Speak Out - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Sacajawea Apts. Inspected, Shutdown: Owner & Residents Speak Out

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PASCO, Wash.- NBC Right Now continues to follow the struggles of the displaced residents of Pasco's Sacajawea Apartments. We learned Tuesday from Pasco fire officials that some of the building's fire extinguishers were missing.

The second floor door was open during the fire, which allowed the flames and the smoke to spread and fill the hallways faster. Emergency stairwell lights weren't working, leaving people in the dark and making escape difficult and ultimately impossible. Pasco Fire Chief Bob Gear said only one of the smoke detectors he checked had batteries.

"Everyone could have stayed in their rooms sheltered in place which we tried to encourage people to do and give us a chance to put the fire out and remove the hazard," said Gear.

Monday night Linda Guo, the owner of building, didn't want to show her face when we arrived, but today she was willing to speak with us about her ex-tenants.

"There are a lot of people living here for 30 years so this is their home," said Guo. "They will come back I trust."

Building inspectors told NBC Right Now Tuesday that no one should be going in the building unless they have proper masks or filters. The damage has exposed asbestos from the walls, but the residents continued entering the building and signing away all liability from the owners. Once informed, Guo stopped people from entering the building until her management team bought dust masks from the hardware store.

Residents who came to pick up their security deposits told us, it's not enough.

"She sits there (the owner) and thinks she can just give us back what? $700 for a deposit and a little bit of rent and say you're on your own?" said Billie Vinson, the ex-manager and resident of the building. "What are we supposed to do for clothes, what are we supposed to do for food?"

Building inspector Mitch Nichols told us that before the building can be restored, Guo must apply for permits which would require the installation of automatic closing doors in hallways and a central alarm system.

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