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Apartment fire: Was the building unsafe?

An inferno struck the San Pedro Apartments near downtown.

The fire that engulfed the San Pedro Apartments on Tuesday was probably caused by an overloaded electrical outlet. But tenants complained the old building wasn’t well maintained, which raised questions about any past Code Compliance violations issued by city inspectors.

San Antonio’s Code Compliance Department has a Web site where you can plug in the address of a property and check its track record. It will show you the date of the violation, the type of violation, a case number, and whether the case is still open. At the apartment building, which is located at 502 San Pedro Avenue, there weren’t many violations.

The site only produces bare-bones information about each case, so if you want to know more details about a violation you have to contact the city. But it might be a good first step for people who, for example, want to know if a vacant property in their neighborhood is unsafe. You can check the address and see if it has a history of violations. That’s good information to have if you complain about the property to your city council member — it helps you make your case that there’s a problem.