Search and recovery continues after deadly apartment fire

A fifth body has now been recovered from the scene of the fire in San Marcos at the Iconic Village apartments and Vintage Pads apartments. 

Fire Chief Les Stephens said the fear that there may be more victims in the ruble had them also searching records.

"We have tracked down the leasing information provided to us by the apartment owners. Every occupant. We know who was at home in the apartments, we know who was out of town, where this gets a little more difficult is the people who had sublet a room, taken over or assumed a lease from the original occupant, people that had visitors from out of town," Stephens said.

The apartments located just a few blocks north of Texas State University caught fire early Friday morning.

Cellphone video shows how the flames tore through Iconic Village and jumped into units at the Vintage Pads apartments next door.

By Monday morning specialized search teams from the ATF and Texas Task Force 1 cleared one of the damaged buildings.  

Search and recovery efforts will continue until its known that all of the victims have been recovered, according to Fire Marshall Kelly Kistner.

"As of right now I can promise you we will at least be on the ground through Friday, doing scene work, it may go longer. We are not going to leave until that piece is done," Kistner said.

Kistner said that they know why the building did not have a sprinkler system. It was built in 1970 when the code did not require sprinklers to be installed. It had not gone through a major remodeling, which would have required the installation of sprinklers.

Sections that did not catch fire are being assessed for safety before residents can return.

As crews continued to work at the complex, a recovery center is being set up for the victims. It’s going to be set up at the city rec center. The focus there will be on long term care.

"What we are giving information on now, as we stated, are the resources for individuals who were affected, that help them get back and sustain the normal daily operations that we all take care of, having keys, getting your driver’s license, those kind of things," Kristy Stark with the city of San Marcos said.

Officials with Texas State University could not say how many of the nearly 200 people who lived in the apartments attended the school. With students arriving for the fall semester the university is trying to help provide alternative living accommodations.