The City of Ely Fire Department was dispatched to an apartment fire last Saturday at 7:45 a.m. The fire was at the Green Mountain Apartments at 15th Street. Engine 1, Ladder 1, and Rescue responded with 16 volunteers and career staff.
Social media outlets posted pictures of the roof engulfed in flames. The fire completely consumed the apartment where tenant Jaycee Tate, her boyfriend and 18 month old son and dog had lived. Thankfully they weren’t home at the time. Instead they were at a motel nearby when they had reported electrical issues just days prior to the fire.
“We woke up at 2 a.m. this past Wednesday with electrical issues. My boyfriend got up and went outside and flipped the breaker four times, and that didn’t work, so we went and stayed at a motel,” Tate said.
Tate went on to note the apartment’s maintenance person showed up and changed the breaker in the kitchen, but they were still without power everywhere else in the house but the kitchen. JW Electric was contacted and arrived at the apartment on Friday, after Moattar’s maintenance person was unable to fix the electrical problem.
The source of heat in the apartment is propane heaters, but Tate explained the propane heaters were too risky to use, and practically every tenant has space heaters. The propane also was a source for the hot water heater and their stove, but Tate also mentioned that the stove never worked and they always had to use hot plates. Before JW Electric left on Friday, they informed Tate not to have two space heaters plugged in at the same time, because it was pulling too much power.
Tate did say that she left a space heater plugged in the kitchen, but nowhere else. Luckily when the fire started, her and her family, and dog, were still at a motel, and the apartment next to them was vacant.
Tate’s family had lived at the apartment complex for almost a year. This wasn’t the first time they had issues. Pipes froze often, they got so used to electrical issues, that’s how her boyfriend discovered going outside to flip the breaker several times before it would reset the power to the apartment.
“We are staying at a hotel for the next two weeks until we can move to Reno where we will have more support,” Tate said.
This isn’t the first time The Ely Times has reported a story of deplorable living conditions at one of Mark Moattar’s properties across White Pine County.
Owner of the apartment complex Mark Moattar indicated he had been out of town over the weekend, and was walking the property when The Ely TImes caught up with him.
Moattar claims the fire started due to space heaters being plugged in but was waiting for the City Fire Chief, Pat Storks report to be released. “JW Electric told me that they told the tenants not to have any space heaters plugged in.”
JW Electric was contacted but did not respond for comment.
Tate also noted that she had reviewed her lease and cannot find anywhere that notes they were not allowed to have space heaters.
“We are not lying about this. They are trying to say it’s our fault. Why would we risk losing everything in a fire to have nothing?” Tate said.