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AJC: Residents of charred Atlanta apartment file lawsuit against property owners

Former residents of a now-charred northeast Atlanta apartment complex filed a class action lawsuit against the building’s owners Monday.

Hundreds watched their homes at the Reserve at LaVista Walk burn for hours Nov. 10. According to the class action complaint, the building had a damaged fire suppression system and property owners “created a culture of frugality, ignored residents’ complaints, and knowingly put residents at risk.”

“They knew that they were out of code,” Attorney Doug Dean with the Dean Thaxton law firm said during a Saturday news conference across the street from the complex, adding that “we intend to hold these people accountable.”

A December 2022 fire inspection report reveals that the Atlanta Fire Rescue Department did not find the complex to be out of code.

The fire was sparked by two people setting off fireworks on the roof of the four-story building around 10:30 p.m. Nov. 10, causing mass evacuations in the 283-unit complex, according to police. Atlanta fire Chief Rod Smith described the blaze as “a complete anomaly” because it started on the roof, stating that it may have impacted and delayed the alarm and sprinkler systems.

But Dean said the property had several issues with its fire suppression system, including broken control valves and corroded sprinkler heads. He added that Avenium, a property management and real estate company based in New Jersey that manages the Reserve, was aware of the issues.


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