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Multiple violations found months before fatal fire at Arapahoe County apartment complex

Report found most buildings were missing a manual fire alarm
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Posted at 12:23 PM, Apr 09, 2023
and last updated 2023-04-10 09:19:57-04

DENVER — Fire inspectors with South Metro Fire Rescue found multiple fire code violations at Ivy Crossing Apartments two months before Saturday’s deadly blaze, according to a fire inspection report obtained by Denver7 Sunday.

During the Feb. 9, 2023 inspection, officials found that some buildings on the property, located at 2470 South Quebec Street in unincorporated Arapahoe County, lacked manual fire alarms and working fire extinguishers, including inside building No. 2380, where the fire broke out.

The report pointed out that manual fire alarms were not present in any of the buildings aside from the townhomes, which is required for residential buildings more than three stories in height or with more than 16 units—both of which the property meets or exceeds.

Inspectors also found the complex had fire doors that did not latch securely, “excessive combustible storage” and unverifiable boiler inspection forms. Additionally, inspectors noted other problems, including exposed electrical wires next to detached fire alarms and several residents with “20 pound propane tanks on un-sprinklered balconies.”

It’s unclear from the report if the property came into compliance after February’s inspection. Some of the remedies had a three-week timeline to complete. A date of April 19 was listed for bringing fire extinguisher violations up to code. Denver7 reached out to Ivy Crossing management for a response but has yet to hear back.

MORE | 1 dead, 4 injured in Arapahoe County apartment fire; 23 residents displaced

Saturday’s early morning two-alarm fire at the complex killed one person and seriously injured two others. Four firefighters sustained minor injuries fighting the blaze, the cause of which is still under investigation.

Firefighters found numerous people trapped inside the building and on balconies when they arrived on scene around 4 a.m. The fire forced some people to jump out of windows, according to an SMFR news release.

Multiple violations found months before fatal fire at Arapahoe County apartment complex

Flames had already consumed the entire second and third-floor hallways, both stairwells and extended into multiple apartments before firefighting efforts were started, SMFR said in the release.

Approximately 80 personnel from several agencies worked for more than two hours to put the fire out. The fire displaced 23 units. Red Cross was on site Saturday assisting displaced residents. The extent of the damage is unknown.

An Ivy Crossing tenant told Denver7 Sunday that he was upset to learn of the violations. Andrew Stumpf said he expected the complex was up to code when he moved in.

"You expect ... you're moving into a place that it's going to be safe and secure and have what you need for it, especially if you're paying rent for it," Stumpf said. "You're paying the landlord for your housing and your protection and your safety."

The complex is made up of several buildings and was constructed in 1972. Ivy Crossing Apartments did not have sprinklers installed, which was not required at the time, according to the South Metro Fire Rescue spokeswoman Lauren Ono.

An SMFR release said that prior to the fire, the agency had been working with property management to retrofit full-building alarm systems for better notification to residents when a fire occurs.

In March of last year, the complex was the scene of an arson that heavily damaged a building and displaced 23 residents. No arrests were made in the case.

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