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Lingering questions remain after massive fire at Miami Gardens apartment complex

Lingering questions remain after massive fire at Miami Gardens apartment complex
Lingering questions remain after massive fire at Miami Gardens apartment complex 02:29

MIAMI - Since a massive fire destroyed units at New World Condo Apartments in Miami Gardens, CBS4 has requested numerous times to speak with the mayor and city manager.  

On Wednesday, CBS4 went to the city's first council meeting since the blaze uprooted residents from their homes.   

CBS4 hoped to ask Mayor Rodney Harris a series of questions. A representative told us he would talk, but the mayor left without ever doing so.

"We still got some unfinished business," said Harris at the end of the publicly scheduled meeting. "They're still going to need some help."

Harris praised the city's response following the fire to help those suffering.

"Showed Miami-Dade County and the rest of Miami how things should be done," Harris emphasized.

Some of the more than 100 displaced residents remain in shelters, receiving assistance and donations to have the bare necessities.  

While awaiting more help, questions loom large like the cloud of smoke hovering over New World Condo Apartments ten days ago.  

CBS4 reporter Joe Gorchow asked one of the council members if it concerned them the fire alarm system wasn't working before the fire ignited.

"It definitely is alarming for us," said Councilwoman Linda Julien. "And we are working together as a city, as a city council, and as a city administration to make sure things like this do not happen in the future."

Julien did take time to share insight on the city's potential next step. Still, unanswered questions remain. Did the city know the building was uninsured, not up to code, and failing its 40-year recertification?

As we press to learn more, we find out Julien spearheaded an initiative to provide financial relief to unit owners that suffered substantial losses.

"Only right to sponsor a resolution so that our state legislators will look into providing them property tax relief," said Julien.

The resolution passed on Wednesday night, and Julien says state lawmakers told her they would look to add the item to the state's tax packet by Friday.  

A bit of good news for some, as she hopes the city can do more to provide financial help in the future.  

Still, lingering questions remain, including could the city have done more to ensure the building was safer. 

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