Residents of Denver Apartment Complex Forced Out After Asbestos Scare
Hundreds of people in a Denver apartment complex were displaced after workers discovered asbestos in their apartment complex in mid-February, according to a report by 9News in Colorado.
The Asbestos Discovery
Construction workers uncovered the asbestos inside the Overlook complex at Mile High Apartments, which is near Colfax Avenue and Irving Street. The asbestos was found beneath the carpet in the hallways. Residents were only given a few hours notice before they had to gather up their belongings – management told them to “pack like they were going on a three week vacation” – and evacuate their apartments.
Later, the evacuated residents were informed that the safety of the building was still in question and that many of their belongings that were considered “soft goods,” which encompasses items such as clothing, linens, and upholstered furniture, would have to be thrown away.
The management of Overlook released a letter informing the residents that representatives will be in touch with them “to discuss compensation” for items they may have lost in the building, and also expressing that they are unsure whether or not some items may be salvageable.
In the meantime, the owners of the apartments have paid to put the residents up in hotels until asbestos mitigation work renders the apartments safe enough to be habitable once again.
The Impact on the Residents
Not surprisingly, the former residents are all adversely affected by the abrupt evacuation in many ways.
Concerned parents Chris and Brigette Rodriguez were paying for their son to live at the apartment complex. Chris commented that “Our main concern is the health issue” and that he and his wife worry about their son, who is a college student being “exposed to asbestos.”
From the perspective of another resident, Brad Galli: “I’m a little stunned. I don’t think it’s totally settled in yet that I probably won’t be able to get any of my stuff back or that I’m going to have to move into a new place.” Galli also added that “There’s a lady who’s a former Denver Broncos cheerleader who has all of her old memorabilia from those days in her apartment.”
The prevailing theme among residents seems to be that they are extremely disappointed, not only with the management’s lack of oversight, but also with how much the incident has disrupted their normal lives.
The Apartment Complex Management’s Response
According to 9News, the management at both the Overlook office and WillMax corporate office refused to return requests for information. However, the 9News team encountered managers at a Denver hotel refunding paid rent and security deposits. An employee they confronted relayed a message for the news team: “A message from upstairs from the ladies at the Overlook. At this time, they’re declining any interviews. They do not wish to speak to you.”
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment believed that the apartment complex was complying with all state regulations, and further clarified that “The property management has retained two certified general abatement contractors that are performing abatement services in accordance with regulation in the two buildings that were disturbed.”
Contact an Experienced Attorney Today
Exposure to asbestos can lead to serious health issues, such as lung cancer and mesothelioma. If you have been exposed, you may be eligible for compensation. Contact an experienced lawyer today.