Burned Stockton Mattress Recycling Center Has History Of Code Violations, Documents Reveal

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STOCKTON -- A month after a Stockton mattress recycling center went up in flames, the non-profit who operates the business continues to rack up city code violations.

Investigators say the cause of the fire is now under criminal investigation, and they believe the fire was possibly started on purpose.

Neighbors say they are worried another fire is waiting to happen.

"Everyone in the neighborhood knew this was going to happen," neighbor Tasha Stiles said. "I mean everyone."

Stiles lives next door to what used to be the Service First of Northern California mattress recycling center.

Last month, Stiles was home with her four children when she watched as a five-alarm fire destroyed a warehouse and hundreds of mattresses. The fire grew so big that it spread to nearby homes and injured two firefighters.

"All the material was just stacked up and stacked up and this stuff is stacked over seven, eight feet high," Stiles said.

More than a month later, the corner of East Flora and North Union streets is now a yard of ashes and charred mattress springs.

What is new is the City of Stockton’s code enforcement violations posted along the fence, notifying the property owners to clean it up the aftermath.

Mattresses are still stacked high on the property.

"The city is doing what they can. They’ve posted things but the mattresses are still there, it's still a threat to my home," Stiles told FOX40.

But this is not the first time the property owners and service first received violations from the city.

According to records obtained by FOX40, both the non-profit’s president and the property owners were cited at least seven times before the fire broke out on May 17 -- violations for not obtaining the correct electrical permits, for not removing combustible materials and for not having the proper fencing.

The violations date back to August of 2017.

"They were told what they had to do because the mattresses were stacked too high and they were not where they were supposed to be placed in the property," Stockton Police Officer Joe Silva said.

Documents show the mattress recycling center was also cited for the same things at its previous location a few blocks away.

"We can’t just come in one day and say, 'You can't operate your business,'" Silva said. "We have to give everybody a process."

Silva says both the business owner and the property owners will continue to get violations until things change. If not, the city will come in and clean up the site and send the bill to the business and property owners.

Eventually, the city attorney could look to take legal action.

FOX40 reached out to both the president of the non-profit and the property owners for comment at the Service First offices on West Bianche Street. They declined to comment and asked FOX40 to leave.

In the meantime, people who live near the mattress recycling center are left worried that what happened last month could happen again.

"Think about if it was your family or your home in jeopardy. I mean it's very unsafe and it's very scary," Stiles told FOX40. "I mean it can happen at any second and everything can be gone. It's like they don't care."

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