Search and recovery completed in San Marcos

Search and recovery teams completed searching the remaining buildings at Iconic Village and Vintage Pads Apartments on Tuesday. No additional victims were found, according to San Marcos officials.

The investigation remains ongoing, as no cause of the fire has been identified. New efforts to help those who have been displaced also got underway.

Heavy debris removal got underway Tuesday morning inside what's left of building 500 at the Iconic Village apartments. Federal and state investigators dug through charred wood and twisted metal in order to get a closer look at things. About a block away from the piles of ash, a small memorial continued to grow along north LBJ Drive.  Matthew Smith and a friend were among those who brought flowers.

"When I see this, I see hope," said Smith.

Smith says he lived in Iconic Village and barely got out with his life when the complex caught fire Friday morning.

"I woke up form breathing in and smelling smoke and I immediately ran to the kitchen to see if i had left anything over night and everything was off. But you would hear the screaming and yelling, and you could see orange lights coming from outside the windows, and I immediately opened the front door to see what was going on, and all I saw was a literally like hell, apocalypse landscape, everything was on fire and I was yelling at my roommate, we've got to get out of here, right now," said Smith.

By Sunday, five residents were listed as missing. They were identified as; James Miranda, Haley Frizzell, Belinda Moats, David Ortiz and Dru Estes, who Smith says was a local musician.

"I can’t believe he is gone," said Smith.

The five sun-flowers on the display by the road represent all of those who were lost.

"They were all our neighbors; they were all our friends. Iconic Village is such a tight knit community, we always would be doing stuff outside our apartments, we always see everyone and say hi, or bye, on their way to work or school," said Smith. 

To help survivors like Smith, the San Marcos Activity Center Tuesday morning - opened a section to provide long term assistance. The recovery effort at the center will continue through Wednesday.  While the help there is appreciated, Smith says the one thing he really wants isn’t inside the center, but remains buried in the rubble of what was his home.

"We need a way to feel secure, about everything, we need closure. We all need that closure, we need to know why this happened, why five people passed away and just we all need to come together, feel each other, love each other and once we do that, we will all get through it together," said Smith.

K9 teams are trying to provide that closure by search for clues in the debris. The dogs are trained to detect traces of accelerant, if any was used. Work crews also put together wooden frames covered with wire mesh.  They are used to separate ash and larger fragments that could be the remnants of what started the fire.