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More defendants and plaintiffs added to Ash Street fire lawsuit

Monday, January 27, 2014 | 9:25 p.m. CST; updated 6:44 a.m. CST, Tuesday, January 28, 2014

COLUMBIA – Two defendants and two plaintiffs have been added to the lawsuit over property lost in a 2013 fire at Ash Street Place Apartments.

Former residents Lauren Kennard and Brett Sheehan were added as plaintiffs. That brings the total number of plaintiffs to about 40, attorney Matt Uhrig said.

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Mills Holiday House, LLC, which owns the apartments, and Environmental Consultants, LLC, were added as defendants.

The fire broke out April 9 in Building 103 after a bathroom light fixture malfunctioned.

Mills hired Environmental Consultants to help clean up asbestos that had been exposed by the fire- and water-damage.

The lawsuit alleges that Mills Properties prevented residents from entering their apartments and reclaiming their belongings after the fire.

In May, Boone County Circuit Judge Gary Oxenhandler granted a restraining order against Mills Properties that prevented the company from disposing of residents' belongings. The restraining order was lifted in November.

The remaining items were returned or thrown out, Mills spokesman Mark Farnen said.

The plaintiffs seek punitive damages and compensation for property that was lost.

The asbestos has since been removed, and rebuilding is underway on Building 103. The apartments are expected to be re-opened sometime in May, Farnen said.


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