Residents of downtown St. Louis loft share safety concerns following fire

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ST. LOUIS – The flames are gone, but condo owner Scott Braswell says danger lurks inside the Ely Walker Lofts in downtown St. Louis.

“The fire last night could’ve been a lot worse,” he said. “The fire last night could’ve started in a trash room and moved from trash room to trash room.”

Braswell says only sections of the building’s fire system alerted residents. He says the alarm didn’t sound in his second-floor unit.

But the system’s failure to alert some fifth-floor residents is more concerning, Braswell says.

“The notification system did not go off on the unit that is directly across from the fire that started last night,” he said.

The building was evacuated as fire crews responded and extinguished the flames. Fortunately, no one was injured. The building’s property manager tells us it appears someone either started the fire or put something hot down the trash chute, igniting the fire.

“Almost everyone has complained about it and nothing has been done to address the conditions of the trash rooms you saw today,” Braswell said.

Braswell bought his condo in 2006. Nearly two decades after he moved in, he says problems have piled up like the trash. Real estate development company Lux Living owns the majority of the building’s units, giving the company voting power over the condo association.

“If we were voting as owners and part of the condo association, these issues would not be happening. I will tell you, as an owner, I never hear from Lux Living. There’s no communication. None at all,” he said. “I can’t speak for the tenants; they may be contacting their tenants and they may be communicating with them, but from an owner’s standpoint, there’s no communication. I want this on the record so that hopefully we can get these issues in check and fix them.”

FOX 2 contacted an attorney who represents Lux Living about the complaints at the Ely Walker Lofts. We heard back from the building’s property manager. He told us a large truck was blocking the exterior entrance to the building’s trash room, preventing garbage crews from accessing the building, which caused trash to build up. He said the truck was towed and the trash would be picked up. He says he’ll be keeping an eye out for any other potential issues.

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