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Abandoned apartment complex known for catching fire burns again

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OKLAHOMA CITY - Another day brings another fire at the Lantana Apartments.

The 190 units on N.W. 10th between Rockwell and Council have been sitting empty for about 10 years.

Neighbors say they serve no good purpose.

“It’s a hide a hole, hidey hole for the bad guys,” said Greenvale Neighborhood Association president, Rita Swonger.

Residents around the vacant complex say it catches fire at least a couple of times a year.

“It was just on fire a couple weeks ago, maybe a month ago.  It’s continual.  They’re going to run out of buildings eventually,” said John Ewing.

Many of the buildings have extensive fire damage.

And because firefighters are well acquainted with this property, they immediately took a defensive mode fighting a fire that broke out just after 12:30 Sunday afternoon.

“With the history of the apartments here, with them being set on fire or catching fire several times,” said District Chief Cathy Hayes with the Oklahoma City fire department.

Nearby residents say they’ve brought their concerns to the city council before, but that they were told since the city doesn’t own the property, their hands are tied.

“All the city and the mayor and all them guys are focused on their little playground downtown and they’re not worried about us here on the edge of town,” said Ewing.

And they’re tired of the activity that goes on unchecked behind the gates that aren’t keeping anyone out.

“It’s an eyesore, just attracts, you know, the bad element.  Scum bags hang out over there.  They’ve got meth labs going, there’s no telling what all’s going on over there all the time,” said Ewing.

And many of them are hoping that one of these times the fire department has to come out will be the last.

“I would thank the good Lord if they burned down,” said Swonger.

The apartment complex is owned by a company out of California.