Apartments under scrutiny after firefighter's death

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by DAVID SCHECHTER

Bio | Email | Follow: @davidschechter

WFAA

Posted on August 15, 2011 at 6:02 PM

Updated Monday, Aug 15 at 6:12 PM

DALLAS — News 8 has learned that the City of Dallas was investigating a long list of problems at an apartment complex for months before Sunday's fire that killed a veteran firefighter.

Investigators returned Monday to the Ridge Crest Terrace Apartments in Southwest Dallas. That's where Lt. Todd Krodle was using a chainsaw to carve out a hole for ventilation when the roof suddenly gave way.

Grief over Lt. Krodle's death is being felt from Dallas — where he spent 17 years on the front lines — to his home in the town of Caddo Mills, 40 miles northeast of the city.

"I've been out to their house and everybody is just in shock still," said family friend Rowdy Payne.

In 2004 and 2008, the City of Dallas took the Ridge Crest complex to court for persistent code violations and violent crimes, problems which were rectified.

Then, one year ago, the 42-year-old apartments were cited for code violations related to its roof and windows. Investigators found decay and holes.

Police guidelines say a case like this can be referred for prosecution within 60 days, but that did not happen.

The property is owned by an investment company in Boston which foreclosed on the apartments from a Dallas-based owner in 2010.

Dallas police said the property manager had been cooperating with a plan to fix health and safety violations and to reduce violent crime.

Back in Caddo Mills, Krodle leaves behind his wife and two children — and a void in community that valued him.

"His outlook on life, his soft-spoken nature, just how he was so good to his kids, his family," Payne said. "He was just a one-of-a-kind guy."

E-mail dschechter@wfaa.com

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