Amarillo apartment complex battles fire and a transient problem

AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - Fire department officials said the cause of a fire at a downtown Amarillo apartment complex on Tuesday remains unknown.

The Amarillo Fire Department responded to a fire at an apartment complex on 10th Street and South Jackson early Tuesday morning. Officials said only one apartment was occupied and the resident was able to get out of the building without injuries.

The resident, as well as businesses across the street, told NewsChannel 10 the complex has a bigger problem than just the fire--transient guests.

The only resident living in the complex said squatters have taken over within the past couple years. With multiple open doors and windows, the apartment is easily accessible to unwanted guests. The resident said he often finds squatters sleeping in the hallway and vandalizing the property.

Businesses across the street said the complex is a problem for them too. According to the businesses, the transient guests sometimes disturb their customers.

"It's a problem up and down the street," said downtown employee Shirley McMinn. "I understand that these people are homeless, and I feel sorry for them. I do understand that. But at the same time, you don't want your customers scared because that will hurt business."

Despite police efforts to keep squatters out, the resident said they keep coming back.