Displaced high-rise residents could return by month's end

Jacksonville Townhouse management is paying for temporary lodging

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Management of the high-rise senior living facility severely damaged by fire last month is notifying hundreds of displaced residents that they could return to their apartments by the end of January.

Since the Dec. 18 fire at the Jacksonville Townhouse Apartments on Philips Highway, Cambridge Management has paid to put up more than 200 residents of the complex in various hotels across town, and that will continue until the units are ready for occupancy. Residents' rent was also suspended while they were not able to live in their units.

According to an update on its website, residents can now enter the building during regular business hours and staff will assist them with questions and issues, or to pick up mail and packages.

Cambridge Management this statement last week:

Although restoration crews continue to work day and night at Jacksonville Townhouse Apartments, the water damage to equipment continues to delay our ability to return residents to the building as we wait for parts that have been ordered and safety clearance from the Fire Marshal. We were initially hopeful that some residents could return home this weekend, that will not be possible. Our best estimate at this time is that the required repairs can be completed by the end of January. If there are opportunities to move residents back more quickly, we will contact you immediately."

The state fire marshal's office told News4Jax that the fire started in one apartment on the eighth floor and the blaze was contained to that one unit, but there's smoke damage throughout the eighth floor and water damage throughout several floors of the building. 

Wet vacuums are being used to dry up water and environmental tests are being conducted to make sure there's no mold from the water damage. Asbestos remediation is also underway to make sure the threat of asbestos is removed after trace amounts were later found.

Management said that residents of the eighth floor had the greatest smoke and water damage and will take the longest to restore. People who lived on that floor may be relocated to other units. Damage to units on floors one through seven varies widely and information about individual units will be made available as it is available.

Residents of the ninth floor had the least damage and personal belongings in those units are expected to be intact.

Cambridge cautioned residents who might want to terminate their leases that they would be placed on a Housing and Urban Development waiting list and its screening rules apply if they wanted to return to Jacksonville Townhouse at a later date.