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Residents displaced by town home fire left in limbo

WESTMINSTER, Colo. -- It’s been more than a month since a fire broke out at a Westminster town home complex, and yet no repairs have been made - leaving multiple families displaced.

“I saw fire shooting out of that unit down there,” Kings Mill resident Josh Schwartz said. “It was so hot I could feel it just standing at my door.”
Frantic moments as a fire erupted at the Kings Mill town homes on the afternoon of June 3.

“I didn’t even take my shoes, I was like we have to get out the door,” Schwartz said.

Once the fire was out, residents returned to find their homes filled with extensive smoke damage.

“Headaches immediately. You just don’t feel right. We were in there for maybe two minutes and left,” Wenny Campbell said.

The Looker-Campbell family is expecting their second child. But with the health risks and asbestos tied to the fire, they cannot live here. They turned to the Kings Mill HOA for answers.

“We’re basically held hostage by the process. We haven’t been told anything,” resident, Jon Looker said.

It’s now been five weeks since the fire. Westminster Fire investors have finalized their report and classified the fire as undetermined. But still residents are no closer to finding out when and if repairs will be made.

“It doesn’t feel like there’s anybody on our side,” Looker said. FOX31: “You’re still required to pay your monthly HOA fee even though you can’t live here?”
Looker: “Every month”

Other neighbors are also fed up with the lack of communication.

“We asked for an emergency meeting and they pretty much told us to wait until the next normally scheduled meeting – as though this is just a regular business item,” Schwartz said. “It’s insane that we have to continue paying our $200 a month HOA fee - that covers things like water, trash which obviously no one in this building is using.”

The Problem Solvers reached out to every HOA board member through email on Sunday, but did not receive a response.

HindmanSanchez P.C. represents the Kings Mill Townhouses association and provided a statement on Monday:

On 6/3/2018 a fire broke out in a unit within the Kings Mill Townhouses Association.  In fighting the fire, an additional nine units were impacted for a total of ten affected units. Insurance carriers and emergency contractors were immediately notified. In addition to the Westminster Fire Department, numerous insurance companies and fire investigation teams have inspected the site. As a result of those inspections asbestos was detected in the originating unit as well as a few of the other affected units. The presence of asbestos resulted in the need for additional testing as part of the fire investigation. The Association and its construction contractor have continually informed the impacted owners of the status of the Association’s investigation and the owners have been advised to contact their personal insurance carriers. The Westminster Fire Department completed its report and released the site for insurance underwriting purposes on July 3, 2018. The Association is still waiting for the insurance carriers’ fire investigators to conclude their investigations and release the site.  Once the site is fully released, the Association’s insurance adjuster and construction contractor are ready to move forward to expedite repairs to those portions within the community for which the Association is responsible.

The Association and its property management company want to clarify that it did not respond to Problem Solvers before the story ran because Problem Solvers contacted the Property Management Company on Sunday, July 8th at approximately 3 p.m. and ran the story later that same day providing no realistic opportunity for a response.

The Association and its property management company consider the community fire to be a very serious situation requiring action as soon as possible, and both are sympathetic to the displaced owners. Unfortunately, neither the association nor the property management company have control over the pace of the Westminster Fire Investigator nor the insurance carriers’ investigators, which in this case took over a month and given the active investigation updates concerning the status from the fire department were delayed. The Association was advised that no repairs or action of any kind is permitted while those investigations are under way. With the discovery of asbestos in the units and the involvement of multiple insurance carriers (one for each unit in the building and for the Association), the path forward will continue to be complex and a quick resolution can’t be guaranteed. However, the Association remains committed to informing the owners honestly as the process progresses.

Meanwhile residents like the Lookers are left in limbo.

“We would like them to treat this as if they lived here,” Campbell said.

“Their inaction is making it worse for us,” Schwartz said.

There will be an HOA board meeting at 5 p.m. Monday.

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