University of Missouri student files lawsuit against apartment complex after fire

Evan Millward, Weekend Anchor/Reporter, evanm@kmiz.com
POSTED: 06:54 PM CDT May 06, 2013    UPDATED: 11:31 PM CDT May 06, 2013 
Ash Street Place Apartment fire
COLUMBIA, Mo. -

A University of Missouri graduate student is suing a Columbia apartment fire complex nearly a month after a devastating fire.

A large fire destroyed dozens of units at Ash Street Place Apartments on April 9. According to fire officials, the building was not up to code and did not have city-mandated pull-down fire alarms, but had until this fall to install them.

A 21-page lawsuit alleges the owner of the apartments, Mills Properties, was intentionally silent about the fire alarms and asbestos. The suit also includes a restraining order against the company.

MU grad student Ryan Freeman claims he has been told by the apartment complex that he will not be able to save any of his belongings from his apartment. That includes instruments and sheet music required for school.

The complex says after the fire, asbestos was exposed in the building. Therefore, employees are throwing away anything it touched.

Freeman claims he was never notified about the asbestos when he moved in last August and was never told about the fire alarm violation.

He filed the restraining order to stop employees from trashing any of his property.

Mills Properties spokesman Mark Farnen told ABC 17 News he cannot comment on  pending litigation.

Farnen said the company bought the property in 2010 and was in a bidding process for fire alarms. He also said the complex had passed all previous inspections.