It appears that the fire broke out roughly 2 a.m. on July 22. The blaze started in Building E of Westbury Apartments, just off 115th Street and spread through more than half of the 69 units. The fire even forced some residents on the second and third floors to jump off their balconies to escape. Within what is believed to be 30 minutes large portions of the structure were engulfed in the fire.
Two people died, 14 were sent to the hospital – three of whom remain in critical condition – and several residents lost their family pets. About 140 of them lost their home.
The 1970 Uniform Building code required a one hour fire-resistive compartment for each apartment which includes demising walls, floor and ceilings.
If you or a family member has been injured or killed by a fire that either could have been prevented or slowed down by appropriate building codes, you have the right to receive compensation for your loss. A personal injury attorney can help.
In the aftermath of the fire, the Westminster police and fire departments requested help from the Bureau of Tobacco Alcohol and Firearms, who had to wait to investigate because of how unstable the remaining structure was.
Since then, the agents have determined that the fire was intentional. As a result, it has turned into an arson and homicide investigation. Authorities would not add anything else since it remains an active investigation.
Even so, the Westbury Apartments were built before 1974, and should have included one-hour fire-resistive compartments for each apartment.
To make matters worse, authorities are also saying that many of the residents – if not all – may not be able to retrieve any possession that might have survived the fire. That’s because investigators have discovered asbestos in the building.
“It should be understood that in all probability reentry for residents may not be possible due to the hazardous condition of the building,” the Westminster Fire Department told the Denver Post. “There is the risk of asbestos contamination throughout the building from smoke spread and water runoff from fire suppression activities.”
Residential property owners and managers must provide a safe place for Colorado residents to live and raise their families. When they fail to live up to that responsibility, they need to be accountable. An experienced accident lawyer can help fight for your rights and secure the compensation you deserve if you or a family member has been injured because of an unsafe apartment. Call the Denver office of Burg Simpson today at 303-792-5595 or complete our Free Case Evaluation form.