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'They need a lot of help:' Fires plague Southside apartment complex

The latest fire at Kings Trail Apartments displaced 12 people.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Flames have become an all too common sight at one San Jose area apartment complex. Two fires in two weeks have some residents of Kings Trail Apartments on edge.

A dozen people were displaced Monday, according to Jacksonville Fire Rescue, their homes not looking much like homes anymore after they were boarded up.

JFRD determined the cause of the fire to be electrical.

"We don't touch that plug over there at all," said Olesha Chaplin, who lives right across the street from the building that caught on fire. "Every time you plug something in, it smells like something be burning, so we don't touch that over there."

Chaplin has a long list of things she doesn't touch in her apartment.

She doesn't flush the upstairs toilet because water will drip through the hole in the ceiling. She doesn't use her dishwasher because it doesn't work, and she has to be very careful with which outlets she chooses.

Seeing yet another fire across the street, the second in two weeks, made those issues even more pressing.

"It's either that building, or another building behind me," said Chaplin. "It's always something."

Jacksonville Fire Rescue is more than familiar with her complex.

"They've been out here three or four times in the last few years, so there's some issues that are going to have to be dealt with," said Captain Eric Proswimmer.

Chaplin says she's dealt with the hole in the ceiling and outlet issues since she moved in back in October.

She says any time she calls the front office, she rarely gets anyone to answer.

An office employee told First Coast News they could not comment on the recent fires.

Several of Chaplin's neighbors didn't want to be interviewed, but said they've seen sparks from their outlets or smelled that same burning smell time after time.

"They need a lot of help over here," said Chaplin.

A spokesperson for Jacksonville Fire Rescue says all the fires have prompted a fire marshal to do an inspection.

One resident said as much as she wants to see these basic needs met, she doesn't want to see the complex shut down, because she doesn't know where else she'd go.

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