Stockton Mayor Demands Answers In Pallet Fire That Burned Homes

STOCKTON (CBS13) — It’s been one week since a massive warehouse fire in Stockton displaced five families. For the first time since that devastating fire, Mayor Michael Tubbs spoke out, moments before he met with the affected families. Just like the fire victims, he too says he has a lot of questions.

During Thursday night’s meeting, Mayor Tubbs says he planned to ask residents more about the complaints they made regarding the pallet warehouse in the past. Tubbs said if the ball was dropped on the city level, he wants to figure out who’s accountable.

In a matter of minutes, one week ago, Mickey Swan’s life turned upside down.

“It’s hard to go back to normal when we don’t have our homes, we don’t have our vehicles anymore,” said Swan.

Swan’s family is just one of five that lost their homes in a fire that spread from a nearby pallet warehouse in Downtown Stockton. Donations have since been pouring in.

Swan said, “I didn’t think that we would get this much you know love from the community.”

Swan says she’s thankful for the support but disappointed in the way things have been handled. Thursday evening, a week after the blaze, Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs planned to meet with the affected families. Swan thought he’d have reached out sooner.

“I’ve actually driven by a couple of times, said Mayor Tubbs, “but I didn’t think it was appropriate to take a selfie at the scene of a tragedy.”

The mayor says he’s been busy connecting with social service organizations to get the families some help. He’s also trying to pinpoint a possible breakdown inside city hall.

Tubbs said, “What were the complaints? How many were there? What was the response? Did we not respond? If not, why not?

Residents claim they’d complained to code enforcement for years about the warehouse, and earlier this year, CBS13 learned the company was cited by the city and fined by the fire department for improper storage of pallets. The city was also scheduled to inspect the site a week before the fire.

“If folks have been calling for two and a half, three years and we haven’t been responsive, then I have an issue with that.”

Mayor Tubbs says he will be speaking with the city manager in the coming days, hoping to find out exactly what happened with those complaints that came in.

Meanwhile, a city councilwoman is planning a spaghetti dinner fundraiser on June 7th for the affected families. Swan says she’s looking forward to that for several reasons.

“We appreciate that support. We appreciate that spaghetti because we can’t make spaghetti right now,” said Swan.

More from Angela Greenwood
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