Frequent false alarms awaken Austin apartment residents

AUSTIN (KXAN) — For months, hundreds of families at the Post West Austin apartments on Bull Creek and 44th Street have been waking up to false fire alarms. They’ve gotten written explanations from management, but it keeps happening, as recently as in the middle of the night Friday morning. Post West Austin claims it’s a water pressure issue but the city’s water department says don’t blame them, the pressure is fine.

Jason Neerman and his wife have lived in the complex for a year., “You’ll see families with children, people with pets out there on the sidewalk, trying to abide by the public safety of the fire alarm,” Neerman explained. “Management sends a notification, sometimes 12 hours or a day later to notify what happened but nothing’s been resolved.”

The Neermans have a stack of those notices, which include: Management apologizing, promising contractors are working on it, warning residents not to disconnect their individual alarms, blaming water pressure, blaming the jockey pump and promising a new accelerator will fix it. Austin Water tells KXAN they provide more than the required city water pressure, so they are not responsible for what is happening.

Neerman and others say most of the false alarms seem to occur in the dead of night. “Friday morning, probably around 1:50am, after going on for 45 minutes,” he explained. “It finally silenced, and you could hear people walking back into the building, some of them wrapped in blankets because of the chill.”

One problem that’s come from the frequent alarms — more and more residents are apparently now ignoring them.

“At this point, I and my girlfriend and our neighbors, we don’t respect the fire alarm anymore,” resident Will Parkhurst said. “We hear it going off, just the other night, I rolled over and thought about getting my earplugs.”

“It’s like the boy that cried wolf,” Neerman added. “Unfortunately, when you cry too many times and there’s no wolf, the one time there is a wolf, people get hurt.”

Post West Austin did not return KXAN’s call for comment Friday, although an office assistant said they probably would not have one.

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