FRESNO, California. (KGPE) – Top city officials are pushing for the city to take control of all of Fresno’s mobile home parks after a man died in a raging inferno last month at a mobile home park in North Fresno.
Councilmember Garry Bredefeld and Mayor Jerry Dyer are bringing forward a proposal at this week’s City Council meeting that would give the city control of all 26 parks within city limits.
“We are here because a man lost his life in our city and perhaps lost that life needlessly,” said Dyer.
It comes after our station investigated the Trails End Mobilehome Park near Sierra and Blackstone, revealing it didn’t have an active operating permit for months.
The ordinance would have to be approved by the council and the state, but if it is, the city would have control over the parks and would be responsible for making owners meet safety standards.
The city would need to hire four additional code enforcement officers, which would cost the city $300,000 a year. Those officers would be required to inspect at least 1-2 mobile home parks a year.
“If we would have suspended a permit we would have followed up on it,” said Bredefeld. “I assure you that if there were code enforcement violations and they were ignored we would have taken over the property. What we would have done is very different than what took place.”
The California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) oversees a majority of the state’s mobile home parks including all of Fresno’s.
An HCD spokesperson said that in July of 2020 the Trails End Park’s Owner was ordered to fix “unsanitary conditions” within the park but never did.
In January 2021, the permit to operate was suspended indefinitely and on April 29, 2021, that fire officials said killed Ronald Richardson and critically injured another.
Park residents claim the notices were torn down and the rent bill kept coming.
Bredefeld and Dyer said the city would be able to take swifter action.
“That’s not gonna happen with us,” said Bredefeld. “When we see something wrong we are going to act.”
Patsy Rajskup had lived in the park for 30 years. She is hopeful that the area will get cleaned up but is nervous about getting kicked out if it isn’t.
“None of us has any place to go,” said Rajskup. “We are gonna be like the homeless because most of us are low income and we can’t afford to go anywhere else.”
Fresno would become the second-largest city in California to take over the authority of mobile home parks. San Diego is the largest.
I did call the landowner but they did not return our station’s call.
Assemblyman Jim Patterson is in the process of trying to get the state to help with the funding if the city takes over the jurisdiction.