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Tenants cite health, safety concerns in requests to be let out of leases at Westbury Apartments

Attorney: Speed of fire's spread raises red flags
Posted at 11:14 PM, Aug 19, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-20 01:14:39-04

WESTMINSTER, Colo. -- Residents who live adjacent to an apartment building gutted by fire last month are now questioning the safety of their own buildings.

The July 22 blaze, at the Westbury Apartment complex in Westminster, killed two people and injured several others.

Fire spread through more than half of the 69 units in Building "E."

On Friday, an attorney with Burg Simpson told Denver7 Reporter Liz Gelardi that the rapid spread of fire through Building "E" raised red flags, because "the fire seems to have spread more quickly than it should have if things have been built correctly."

Some Tenants Want Out of Lease

Dean M. lives on the second floor of Building "H."

He wakes up every morning to a view of the charred ruins of Building "E."

"It looks like a war zone," he told Denver7.

Dean said he worries about asbestos from the gutted structure, and wonders whether the building he lives in has appropriate firewalls.

He said he and his wife are so concerned about health and safety, they want out of their lease.

"They won't let us out," he said, "unless we pay $1,500 to buy out our contract."

He added that they can't afford the buyout fee.

Some of his neighbors have the same concerns.

"I really don't know if there is a firewall or not," said Alan Arellano, who added that he and his wife are also both concerned about asbestos.

"It's definitely concerning," he said.  "We thought about our options and everything, like moving out, but with the situation we're at, we really don't have that as an option."

Quiet Complex

Arellano said the complex has gotten much more quiet since the fire.

He said many tenants were displaced, and that others have moved.

"We still think about the people who were lost, the neighbors who were injured and the ones who were displaced," he said. "They were our neighbors."

Denver7 reached out to Westbury Management to ask about asbestos, firewalls and requests to be let out of leases.

Management has not yet responded.