(AP) A fire that ripped through a high rise apartment complex in the Phoenix suburb of Tucson last month has forced the evacuation of hundreds of residents, leaving them scrambling to find new housing.
Rental housing has also been pushed to the brink, with some tenants threatening to walk away if their homes are not replaced by more affordable units.
Phoenix Fire Chief Greg Cassells says the blaze at a rental apartment complex north of downtown that started Feb. 16 has displaced about 3,600 people.
Cassell said some units were still standing as of Tuesday morning.
The fire at the Raintree apartment complex, which is owned by the city of Phoenix, began with an electrical fire in one of the apartments.
Cassel says the fire was contained to the building’s boiler room, which was left unattended and uninhabitable for weeks.
It was eventually brought under control after an intensive firefighting effort and a fire-control team was deployed.
Cassell says firefighters were able to knock down a roof over the boiler room that had leaked steam.
Cassel says they have been working to get the boiler and other components repaired and moved out of the complex.
Phoenix is home to about 8,000 people, including more than 3,000 homeless people.
Casell says a fire safety team has been deployed to inspect rental units in the complex and that firefighters are working to put the blaze out.