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Texas ALF settles fire sprinkler suit

November 30, 2015
by Pamela Tabar, Editor-in-Chief
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A Fort Worth, Texas assisted living facility will pay $30,000 in civil money penalties and $10,000 in legal costs to end a lawsuit over a fire sprinkler system citation.

The state Attorney General’s office sued Westchester Plaza, a 12-story apartment complex licensed for 275 residents, alleging it did not have a complete, working fire sprinkler system for at least eight months in 2012 and that management had ignored fire marshal orders to fix it. The three companies involved, WGH Heritage Inc, Westchester Prime Management and Phoenix Health Resources, also will pay $10,000 in attorney fees.

The facility’s owners have not admitted guilt, saying they “contend that the situation or incident, subject of the investigation, was an occurrence without fault or cause and without reasonable means of prevention,” according to court records quoted by the Star-Telegram last week.

A minor fire broke out on the fourth floor in 2013, but the sprinklers on that floor worked and no one was injured, noted a 2014 news article in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Since then the troubled facility and has had roofing and repair problems in addition to scrutiny from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

The building, which passed its latest state inspection in October, houses the state’s largest group of Medicaid residents, many of whom have mobility issues or other disabilities.