PK Management holds news conference 3 days after Patten fire - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

PK Management holds news conference 3 days after Patten fire

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) - More than 100 residents are still staying in the emergency shelter that opened after Tuesday night's fire at Patten Towers. The owners said Friday, the fire caused extensive damage and special equipment must be ordered to make repairs. 

With no timeline set for when the building may reopen the question becomes-- where will these people go?

The director of facilities for PK Management tells us a team of 10 social workers with PK will be here Saturday to help residents find a temporary place to live. We pushed to find out why residents are just now getting some clear answers.

"We're tying to make sure that what's done is done completely, fully, correctly within code and law," PK Management Director of Facilities Joe Conti said.

Conti is the facilities director for PK Management, which owns and operates Patten Towers. He says the electrical fire, and evacuation of all Patten residents, is the biggest crisis his company has faced.

"To pin point something that we could have done to prevent an actual electrical fault, I don't know that could have actually been done," Conti said.

He says a team of engineers is still assessing the damage to Patten. With a building older than the Titanic, it could take six to eight weeks to get the parts to fix it.

"It's going to be customized equipment. It has to be made specially for the building," Conti said.

Besides repairs, the focus is still on the frustration of residents stuck at the Red Cross shelter. Conti says a team of social workers will help place them in new temporary housing.

Residents, like David Elliot, say the story kept changing.

"You didn't really have no realistic timeline on when you was actually going to get in. First they was telling you two days. Then they was telling you four days," David Elliot said.

Conti says at first, it wasn't clear how bad the damage really was. 

"I was actually on the ground here Wednesday night," Conti said.

Conti maintains, that in the year PK Management has owned the building, it's been making upgrades, like putting in new windows.

"Some of the things that we have addressed? There is already a brand new cooling tower that's already installed in the building," Conti said.

It's maintenance work Elliot and others acknowledge.

"Before PK came in, they are a better management company than the company was before them," Elliot said.

Residents were also pleased to hear they will not being owing rent any time soon.

"There would be no paying. You're not living some place, you wouldn't be paying for it. There's not rent due," Conti said.

At the end of the day, he says PK Management is grateful for the first responders that rescued the residents and the community organizations taking care of them.

Conti says making a donation to the Red Cross and Salvation Army is in the works.

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