Faulty smoke alarms cited as factor in fatal fire

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Thursday, February 27, 2014

FARGO, N.D.—One of the region’s largest landlords is facing a wrongful death lawsuit by the family of a man who died in a fire in one of its rental apartments, according to INFORUM, a news website.
Parents of James Peyton allege in the lawsuit that Peyton and his roommate told Goldmark Property Management before the fatal fire that the smoke alarms were malfunctioning in their apartment at Ashbury Apartments, the news site reported Feb. 24.
The 31-year-old died in the fire during the early morning hours of Jan. 29, 2012. He slept through the blaze, which began in the kitchen of the apartment, not hearing any alarms go off and dying due to smoke inhalation, according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit claims a maintenance worker removed faulty smoke detectors from the men’s apartment, but Goldmark, which is based here, didn’t replace or repair them, the news site reported.
Kurt Bollman, Goldmark’s executive vice president and chief financial officer, told INFORUM, “We completely and categorically deny the allegations, but we’ll handle this in a court of law.”
The lawsuit, filed in February in Cass County District Court, seeks at least $100,000.
Goldmark manages more than 12,000 apartment units in four states.