Denver tenants displaced from fire: No extinguishers, smoke detectors

DENVER -- An apartment fire in Denver’s Clayton neighborhood forced families from their homes late Saturday night.

As investigators worked to pinpoint a cause of the fire over the weekend, tenants sounded the alarm on their landlord.

Three tenants said some units do not have working smoke detectors. They also said there are no fire extinguishers on site.

The only warning some people had was from the smell of smoke, according to tenants at Willow Apartments near East 33rd Avenue and Clayton Street.

The row home apartments were taped off Sunday after fire and smoke caused damage throughout the building.

Tenant Vera Cook said she had no idea her neighbor’s place was in flames until smoke started filling her home.

“The next thing I know, there’s smoke coming through my wall,” Cook said.

Cook and two of her neighbors described neglect. They explained how fire safety has not been taken seriously by their landlord.

“They took my fire extinguisher out of my unit,” Cook said.

Cook said her landlord took fire extinguishers away over the summer.

At the time, she said the management team promised to install new extinguishers on the side of the building.

Replacements never came, according to Cook. Two other tenants said it’s hard to find working smoke detectors in the building managed by P.K. Management.

“There was a lot of devastation with this fire,” American Red Cross spokesman Nigel Holderby said.

The American Red Cross purchased hotel rooms for nine people who are displaced.

Several people were treated at a hospital, according to fire department officials. There were no reports of serious injuries.

Denver ordinances require smoke detectors and fire extinguishers in multifamily structures.

P.K. Management did not respond to calls seeking comment. The American Red Cross supplies and installs free smoke detectors to those in need.