Arson killed her daughter two years ago, but now the mother of a Kansas University student who died in the Boardwalk Apartments fire says the complex is also to blame.
Nancy Bingham, Nicole Bingham's mother, has filed a lawsuit against the Boardwalk Apartments in Douglas County District Court.
Bingham is suing the apartment complex, the management company, the fire equipment safety contractors and several unnamed construction companies that performed renovations on the apartments before the Oct. 7, 2005, fire.
Nicole, Bingham's only child, was one of three people killed in the blaze. "Someone needs to represent Nicole," Bingham said. "It was her life that was lost. I need to look at what she would've wanted done to carry out a legacy for her."
In the wrongful death lawsuit, Bingham claims the apartment complex was negligent for having an inadequate fire suppression system. It also claims the apartments lacked adequate fire escapes and fire alarm systems.
"The fact is that she got out of her apartment, as far as the stairs, caught on fire and collapsed," Bingham said. "If the fire walls would've been a little more effective, she may have gotten out."
The lawsuit also claims the construction techniques and materials used to build the apartments "unreasonably increased the risk of a catastrophic fire." Once set, the fire spread in a matter of minutes, destroying all 76 apartment units.
Bingham is seeking a minimum of $75,000 in damages, but said any money received would be used to honor her daughter's memory. "I'm doing it for her," she said. "The one thing I have found that helps me through my grief is if there is something I can do to help Nicole, then I always find the strength to do it."
Jason Rose, who lived at the complex, was convicted of setting the fire. He is serving a 10-year prison sentence.
An attorney for Boardwalk Apartments declined to comment on the pending litigation.