Frustration building faster than San Jose townhomes, no closer to being livable 1 year after fire

Lauren Martinez Image
Tuesday, June 25, 2024
San Jose residents no closer to going home, 1 year after arson fire
One frustrated couple says they've had to deal with three different property managers and construction decisions have been slow going one year since an arson fire heavily damaged a townhome complex.

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- Residents of townhomes in San Jose are unable to move back home.

Sunday marked one year since a fire heavily damaged five units at a townhome complex off Alexian Drive and Luz Avenue.

It was on that night of June 23, 2023, when ABC7 News spoke with Elmer Pimentel.

"There's times where we kind of want to give up in life it's like- it's home. It might not be much but it's home," Pimentel said.

The San Jose Fire Department now says this was arson, though there are no arrests.

A backyard security camera caught the moment a mattress lit up on fire. Pimentel and his wife Maria Dominguez had put the mattress outside for the city to pick up.

The couple owns their unit.

A homeowners association oversees the townhome complex and the couple says construction decisions have been slow going.

"It's exactly a year and the property is still the same," Dominguez said.

The couple says what's been frustrating is the fact that they've had to deal with three different property managers this past year.

The most recent management has been in place for roughly a month.

"I hope that they get the ball rolling I mean it's a small townhouse it doesn't take two years to build it," Pimentel said.

This past year, the couple had to move in with their daughter in Hollister while working in San Jose.

Two weeks ago, they started renting an apartment in Saratoga while still paying for the burned-out unit.

"We're all paying rent and mortgage, and this is like- we need to come back, I mean we need to have some answers. And we still have to pay for HOA," Dominguez said.

The city of San Jose released a timeline of the rebuilding permit process.

In February plans were filed by the property management for a building permit.

In March the applicant paid for a permit fee.

In April the city plan reviewer sent comments and the city is still waiting for the applicant to respond to those comments.

"Mad, sad, a lot of emotions. We need help, we need to start seeing this building rebuilding," Dominguez said.

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