Better Call Behnken: Sarasota apartment complex manager never secured development, residents on their own

SARASOTA COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Residents of a Sarasota apartment complex say their property manager failed to secure their development and then left the area, leaving them on their own before Hurricane Irma. 

Greg Van Fleet has become the unofficial spokesman for Applegate Apartments on Lockwood Ridge Road.

“This is our lives, this is not just, ‘we’re having an issue getting something fixed,'” Van Fleet said. “This is lives. This is our homes. This is our community.”

Van Fleet says the property manager promised to secure the complex, then boarded up the office and took off.

“We’ve got 20-year-old kids that live here,” he said. “We’ve got 65-year-old people living here and they need to be safe.”

He called 8 On Your Side for help and we found mattresses, a couch, trash cans, traffic cones and a loose street lamp that was supposed to be repaired months ago, Van Fleet said.

He’s worried about massive windows and a glass front door to his building that doesn’t even lock. There is tape over the lock on the door.

Ed McCrane, Emergency Management Chief for Sarasota, was not pleased to hear this.

“They should contact the apartment manager, the property manager, somebody to try to do that. Or do whatever they can themselves, within reason and safety,” McCrane said.

McCrane said residents should do the best they can to protect their property, but there is only so much they can do, since they don’t own the buildings.

That means they may have to evacuate.

“If they don’t feel safe in that structure, they need to go to one of our shelters,” said McCrane.

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