About 1:20 a.m. on Oct. 7, 2005, emergency dispatchers began receiving 911 calls about a fire at a northwest Lawrence apartment complex. In minutes, a fire at the Boardwalk Apartments ripped through 76 apartments. Three people died in what was one of the worst fires in Lawrence history. Five years later, we take a look back.
• Oct. 7, 2005: 911 calls begin coming in about 1 a.m. from panicked residents reporting a quickly spreading fire at the Boardwalk Apartment complex, 524 Fireside Drive. Three people, Yolanda Riddle, a social worker, Jose Gonzalez, an electrician, and Nicole Bingham, a Kansas University student, die in the fire. About 20 others are injured.
• Feb. 12, 2007: A mistrial is declared in the murder trial of Jason Allen Rose, 21. Rose confessed to setting the fire, but later recanted. The trial was halted after a commenter on the Journal-World’s website wrote that Rose had previously talked of setting fires. She was later called as a witness in the case.
• May 11, 2007: A Douglas County jury convicts Rose of three counts of involuntary manslaughter, one count of aggravated arson, and seven counts of aggravated battery. Prosecutors had asked jurors to convict Rose of murder. Rose is later sentenced to 10 years in prison, with credit for the 19 months he spent in jail leading up to the conviction.
• May 18, 2009: Victims of the fire and the owners of Boardwalk Apartments reach an out-of-court settlement for $12 million. During Rose’s trial, investigators from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives testify that the design of the building contributed to the rapid spread of the fire. However, the building had passed an inspection weeks prior to the fire.
A day after the settlement was announced, the complex owners asked all tenants of what remained of the Boardwalk Apartments to leave their apartments.
• Nov. 22, 2009: Developers announce plans for demolishing Boardwalk Apartments and replacing them with a $10 million, 192-unit apartment complex at the same site. Construction on the site is ongoing.