13 months after 5-alarm fire, Midtown St. Louis apartments set to reopen

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by Laura Hettiger

KMOV.com

Posted on August 4, 2013 at 2:40 PM

Updated Monday, Aug 5 at 6:32 AM

(KMOV) Brad Bootz will never forget what happened on July 17, 2012.
 
The rookie manager of 3949 Lindell remembers watching a five-alarm fire bounce across the roof of the four-story complex just eight months after the building opened. Luckily, no one was hurt, but the fire destroyed the front side of the complex and closed it more than a year.
 
On Saturday, August 17—13 months to the day after the costly fire—3949 will officially reopen with many of the same tenants returning.
 
Bootz said the fire did two main things: it allowed the management to make key aesthetic changes like different color schemes and flooring while it also encouraged the property owners to take more stringent safety precautions.
 
“We worked extensively with the fire department shortly after [the fire], and they recommended we add sprinklers to the attic,” Bootz said. “Of course at their recommendation, we jumped on that and then we added a fire exit.”
 
Though not required by law, Bootz said his company has complied with “every recommendation and code that [the fire department] has put in place” during the year-long reconstruction process.
 
Now the complex is a completely sprinkled building that has the man overseeing the project’s stamp of approval. Ken Callahan, Jr., said that the fire started in the attic. He said if there would have been sprinklers in the attic when it broke out, the building would not have been a total loss.
 
Unfortunately for Bootz, the fire department could not pinpoint what caused the fire. A fire captain sent News 4 an email that said, “in talking with the fire chief and the investigation, there are no new developments and really no extra information at this time.”
 
While Bootz has his speculations—“it was 108 degrees for two weeks”—he said he and his tenants are just ready to move on and reopen their doors.

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