Archive for Monday, February 27, 2006

Time barely starting to heal wounds

February 27, 2006


It's been nearly five months since Dawn Davis stood inside the burning building, calculated her chance of death at 100 percent if she stayed put, and then jumped.

"I was going for 50-50" odds of living, she said.

She broke her back, her tailbone, her wrist and her pelvis, and suffered a head injury. Only in the last week or so has she been able to start sleeping through the night.

Her boyfriend, Eli Greenbaum, still walks with a limp from his broken ankles. He can't do his graduate biology fieldwork in the mountains of Burma, as he'd planned. Whenever he hears Davis' heater kick on, it startles him and reminds him of the explosions that night.

These are just a few of the ways the Oct. 7 fire at the Boardwalk Apartments continues to affect the survivors. The fire killed three people - Kansas University student Nicole Bingham, electrician Jose Gonzalez and social worker Yolanda Riddle - but it injured and displaced many more.

Three sets of flowers rest by the chain link fence where the Boardwalk Apartment building burned last October. The flowers are in memory of the three people who died in the blaze.

Three sets of flowers rest by the chain link fence where the Boardwalk Apartment building burned last October. The flowers are in memory of the three people who died in the blaze.

Raju Ahmed, who jumped from a third-story window and crawled to safety, is still using crutches. Leigh McHatton, who ran through the fire in flip-flops with a blanket over her head, still has painful burns on her hands and feet. Joel Lamberto and his brother, Victor, can't lift heavy objects because of the injuries they suffered jumping out their window.

One by one, these and other victims walked, limped or hopped on crutches to the front of a courtroom last week to describe their experiences. At the end, a judge found there was enough evidence to try 20-year-old former resident Jason A. Rose for charges including murder and arson.

The hearing also brought out testimony from a fire investigator who said the 41-year-old building's design contributed to the fast spread of the fire.

The 76-unit building had been inspected by the fire marshal in the weeks before the fire and passed its inspection. But the fire investigator, U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Agent Douglas Monty, testified this week that the wooden slats and support beams that ran along the front of the building helped the fire spread vertically.

He said the partly enclosed stairwells acted like a chimney that funneled heat to the upper reaches of the building, and he said overhangs along the front of the building had the effect of trapping gases and radiating intense heat downward. Furniture left on the walkways provided easy fuel once the fire started burning, he said.

At least one attorney investigating a possible civil lawsuit attended last week's hearing.

Meanwhile, the remaining seven buildings at Boardwalk continue to house a mix of young families, students, workers and immigrants.

The area of the destroyed building is now a heap of gravel, enclosed by a chain link fence, with three bouquets of silk flowers placed in the ground outside the fence. Signs at the complex advertise great specials.

A manager could not be reached for comment on Friday, and officials at Stinson Morrison Hecker, the Overland Park law firm that is the registered agent for the building's ownership company, have declined comment.

Some residents, including Nicole Krambeer, 27, who has been in the complex for a year and a half, are planning to move out. Krambeer said the management had been helpful to residents and had been reminding people about fire safety - for example, urging them to clear items off the walkways in front of buildings. But it hasn't been enough to quell some residents' concerns, she said.

"A lot of my neighbors moved out immediately," she said. "They were afraid it could happen again."

But some who moved in after the fire don't share that concern or the frightening memories.

Alex Miller, 21, a Johnson County Community College student, said he'd moved in about a month ago and hadn't thought much about the fire.

"It was cheap, so I moved in," he said.


Ragingbear 12 years, 3 months ago

Boardwalk was a deathtrap. While I was there, I had repeatedly said how that place would go up like a box of matches if a fire ever got it's claws in. And that is exactly what happened. I was fortunate enough to make it out alive, but it should not have been so close.

maveric 12 years, 3 months ago

I can say from living there, the walkway in front of my place when they replaced some studs where so rotted out by termites it wasn't funny, but since they didn't want to spend the money and half butt fix things as always I am lucky to survive myself and lost everything, but I am thankful to be away from the abuse from that former landlord of mine who thinks her poop don't stink I hope she gets fired or leaves because she has no respect for anyone. I know that by law NO landlord has the rights to verbally abuse or threaten anyone because of a call from years of water damage she refused to help me with because in her own words her regular tenants came first before any section 8 people. I hope she lives and learns from her mistakes and I put blame on her for the simple fact poor maintenance, none working smoke alarms, very poor management communication to others and her nick name "attitude" I have heard many times does fit her well and she should never or any aparment complex should never have a landlord who is abuse to others like her. Now I am safely away from her and he verbal and threatening abuse I can take care of problems with her withou being threatened by being evicted if I got people involved now I am not scared of her, time to learn what you ditched out to me and others that is why I hold her accountable because she does what she wants when she wants and don't care about others as you can see of some resent stabbings, shootings, and fights that still go on and oh yea parties loud parties by my new neighbors that where a major problem on the fireside drive. If I remember you git 3 yes 3 complaints and then your out, and all she does is tell them to turn it down, but when she leaves its starts all over, she don't care and I hope she gets in alot of trouble, because to have them half butt fix things is the only reason they pass inspection, I hope the health department inspects for mold and other related problems, because when the roof leaked before they replaced all the roofs the sheetrock would turn green which is mold, and the only thing she would have the so called maintenance men do is paint over the green stuff, I know allot so I am stopping now and hope to get something going soon, because that place has to many maintenance problems everyone is overlooking, it should of NEVER happened if she would of followed the rules of the credit check she refuses to do but did on me when I got my place there years ago and if it wasn't for my case worker I would of never of been able to live there due to my credit, so it shows she don't care and now they lost allot of apartments they hungry for money and wil do what it takes to get anyone in cheap and the city should shut it down and make the owner rebuild because BOARDWALK apartments is nothin but a BIG tank of gas waiting for someone to light a match because the wood structures are so termite rotted and wood is so dry it will not take much for it to burn.

neopolss 12 years, 3 months ago

Well it WAS on fireside drive. FIREside drive. I guess it lived up to its name.

Downtoearth 12 years, 3 months ago

There is a time for a joke of 2. Grow up and get a life!

Fireside- Not to brite!!!!!!!!!!!

Downtoearth 12 years, 3 months ago


jcsmom 12 years, 3 months ago

neopolss - That was totally uncalled for - How can you make a joke about a tragedy like that???

bankboy119 12 years, 3 months ago

Haha I thought it was funny.

I know who one of the managers is at least.

kshaff03 12 years, 3 months ago


Sounds like you have some personal issues. I moved out 6 months before the fire. This is what I have to say about living in that building.

I was treated by management very repectfully. I was always greeted with a smile, and the manager called me by name. I left my grill in the walkway, underneathe the stairwell. It was moved out of the stairwell. My neighbor was cited for leaving trash in front of his apartment. I noticed that the complex was in the process of replacing several areas of the walkway throughout the complex. My air filters were changed as scheduled. My apartment was sprayed for insects more than I wanted it to. My fire alarm went off every time I cooked grilled cheese.

When I moved out, my apartment was spotless, I was complimented on it, and I recieved my entire deposit back.

Perhaps you got off to on the wrong foot with the landlord. I have had combative friends that didn't get along with the best of landlords. Respect has to go both ways.

Jason Njoroge 12 years, 3 months ago

I have never had a problem with Boardwalk, I grew up there when my father was living there for about 6 years. I happened to move into my own place there two months prior to the fire. I was so excited to finally have my own apt. I got to enjoy it for 2 months. They treated me and my family with great respect. and like kshaff03 says, respect goes both ways. Yes there were big projects they could have done to make the place better, but then again rent would be so expensive. It wasn't managements fault that the apartments design allowed the fire to spread so fast and so hot. So it's not fair to them for people to lash out at them about this tragedy. They helped as best they could to setting people up with places to stay and gave us our full deposit and Oct. rent back. So for the people who had a problem with the management, lets not use this comment page to be passive aggressive and just move on with it. And for neopolss, have some compassion. There are many many people who read these pages that were hurt, knew someone who was hurt, or lost everything they owned, including myself.

Linda Endicott 12 years, 3 months ago

Remember that the poster was a Sec. 8 tenant. Some landlords do, indeed, treat Sec. 8 tenants differently than they do others.

maveric 12 years, 2 months ago

I can say I was not on Sec.8. For those that were SECT.8 Tenant's I can prove by law and by a lie detectors test as I know personally when I had maint. problems and turn in work order it would take her not 2 weeks nor 3 weeks it took her 2-3 months to fix things in my place and I was VERY clean myself, but to be TOLD STRAIGHT from the Landlord that her regular tenants come before any of her SECT.8 tenants, shows the landlord didn't give a rats ass about no one I mean NO ONE but her regular tenants. I will ALSO say that I personally know for a fact and witness not once but many times one guy who owned a dog that lived on the 3rd floor in 524 Fireside, for problem #1 back on July 2nd 2004 when we had that big big rain fall I was in the office when he came in on his lunch break from a tire shop he worked at on west 6th and told the landlord he needed buckes because his bedroom ceiling was like a water fall and soaked his bed and everything, I saw myself and witnessed the damage among the girl who lived below him, and the landlords remarks was, MY regular tenants come first before any SECT.8 people and you'll have to wait is her exact words to the guy in 524 Fireside Drive #9 on the 3rd floor on south end with allot of bad words as well.

maveric 12 years, 2 months ago

I also witnessed the day she verbally abused him up and down in public in front of the maintenance so called men and a lady who had an illegal dog on the property and she kept allowing it to poop in his yard and he had to clean it up even though it wasn't his dogs mess she threatened him to clean it up or he was gone. That Landlord needs to leave because she is not fit to be a landlord when she discloses personal information and medical information about those whom know no better, basically confidential information. So I know first hand and witnessed many times of her verbally threatening this man. Another incedent, a young man just moved in below him when he used to live in 522 Fireside Dr. #13, the young many was outside drunk as hell, and the guy with the dog was walking his dog up torwards his apartment and the drunk kid asked him for a light, he said he didn't have one go buy one, the drunk kid got mad at the guy and kicked his dog, the guy who owned the dog grabbed his dog headed up to his apartment and I told him I saw it and was calling the police, the drunk kid followed the guy with his dog to his apartment and walked in the guys apartment and hit the guy who own the dog in the back of the head, that is called criminal tresspassing to just walk into someone home uninvited, needless to say the guy who owned the dog who was on sect.8 whooped the drunk mans butt, then the landlord locked the dog owner and the drunk kid in the office and would not let the dog owner out until he apologized for beating the heck out of the drunk kid, whom had NO rights to just walk into someone elses house uninvited and assault the guy, I still think that was pure BS the Boardwalk manager did this to the dog owner who did nothin but tell the guy no he didn't have a light so the drunk guy can smoke. I used to work for Boardwalk and I also know first hand sect. 8 tenants came last and it would take about 4-6 weeks or longer to fix any sect. 8 tenants work orders, I also do know last year the guy who lived in 524 Fireside Dr. on the 3rd floor coming to the office one day while I was waiting for a walk through with the office personal, he came in a complained about grey paint on his car the was parked by his neighbors girls car, if the painter who was sloppy as heck anyways was painting the south end of the building how can paint get on the car in the first stall and second stall where both cars where parked and even on the 3rd stall car.

maveric 12 years, 2 months ago

And heres the catch I personally seen the Landlord write the girl that lived in 524 Fireside Dr.#5 a $500+ check to get her car repaired from all the grey paint and would not I MEAN WOULD NOT take the responsibility to pay the guy in 524 #9 anything and her words where oh well, I'll bring goof off from home to you tomorrow and you can clean it off, HELLO LADY ARE YOU STUPID, your workers and his mexican butt was a sloppy ass painter and GOOF OFF WILL RUN A paint job in a heart beat. I can go on and on what she has done that I personally have seen her do to the guy in 524#9 that NO ONE should ever have to go through and I now know and will always understand why he was always defensive and PISSED off is because she honestly treated him like trash, but I feel sorry for him because he couldn't do anything about her because he absolutely had NO family, never caused a problem, and the problems that came up with him was people picking on him you have to defend yourself sometime and that's what he did,

maveric 12 years, 2 months ago

another incedent back in November 2004, the guy in 524 #9 was takin my friends boyfriend to work and another man that lived in 524 #4 was walking and the guy in 524 #9 said he was not giving the guy in 524 #4 a ride, who was a known drug dealer, pulled a gun on the guy that lived in 524 #9 and told him he does what he says I run the Eastside, after telling him he wasn't going to give him a ride, NOT only did the landlord do NOTHIN the same drug dealer in 524 fireside dr. #4 who was seeing a girl in 522 fireside Dr. #7 and she got tired of his drunkin ways and threats he also threatened to shoot her and her new boyfriend and son if he catches them away from boardwalk, and finally the girl in 522#7 got sick of it and all the threats she moved out.

maveric 12 years, 2 months ago

OK why didn't the landlord do something about this instead of letting the drunking dirty no good drug dealer aka "PAPA" get away with this for 4 months before she finally evicting him whom also was behind on rent I say $1000+, she caused the lady and her son and her boyfriend and the guy in 524 #9 who lost everythig in the fire and no one to help him so much mental stress for NOTHIN, its very unprofessional the owner of Boardwalk allows her to do this and I know of 10 years of this BS and verbal threats and verbal abuse to the guy in 524 #9 and I feel very sorry for him because he had to be a prisoner in his own house, and scared to let his dog out because she aint responsible enough to do her job right and someone should make her pay up and if I ever hear anything that anyone sue's her for anything along this line I will be the first to speak because if anyone knows how she treats people I got 20 years at Boardwalk and I know way more that you can verify coolbreeze,kshaff03, so before you two jump up and pick out things to paint, be very careful in what you two say when you know nothin and my 20 years there I know a heck of allot than you'll ever know, and what she has done and did she is most definately NOT FIT TO BE ANY LANDLORD especially one who takes drug money for rent, and does not give a flying crap who is in danger, and as I see from my police scanner there are still major drug and fighting problems and she will do nothin bout it as long as she gets the money, maybe the city needs to inspect the whole place because there is so much mold from water leakes from the roof that took them 20 years to fix the sheetrock on the ceiling has black and green mold heavily on it and the way they fix it is just repaint the whole damn thing, and wiring lol don't get me started on the wiring because it would never pass inspection and the city really needs to shut the place down and make the owner remodel because I can GUARENTEE 150% its very termite rotted and its like a can of gas waiting for someone to light it, 40 year old building not properly maintenance is just waiting for a spark and it will be OCT.7th 2005 all over again, that is how bad Boardwalk is, its a death trap because you seen how fast fire spread back in October and it went up fast, what about the other buildings and people, when will the city stop and listen and do the right thing, oh one more thing, before you respond to this message go to the court house and look at public records for Boardwalk and look at the thousands of complaints towards Boardwalk and see how many people won you will be amazed she this lady has been landlord and if you look at the records hope you got time allot of time.

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