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Fire Victims Forced From Apartments Now Learning Of Asbestos Contamination

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An image from the fire at the Woodhaven Apartments in October 2013 (credit: CBS)

An image from the fire at the Woodhaven Apartments in October 2013 (credit: CBS)

AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) – People forced from their homes by arson a month ago in Arapahoe County are still locked out and now there’s another development– asbestos contamination.

That’s making things difficult for residents of Woodhaven Apartments who still haven’t been able to return home to collect their personal items since the fire in October.

Most renters thought they would be back to gather their things by now.

“For us everything we have is in there,” said fire victim Paul Rockwell.

Rockwell and others didn’t know why the process was taking so long until they received a letter from management. It states the smoke from the fire released asbestos that was previously contained into some of the apartments and they can’t begin construction until that’s taken care of.

“I was under the assumption they were in there working. Those dumpsters have been in there since the second, third day after the fire,” said Rockwell.

Rockwell and other residents have two options: a licensed contractor can properly dispose of all of his belongings or the apartment complex will pay to have them properly cleaned and returned for pickup on Christmas Eve.

“Right now I have no where to go with it. I don’t have the money. I need to reserve a truck now and a storage unit. I don’t have the funds to do that but it has to be done because my stuff is going to be on that curb one way or another,” said Rockwell.

Rockwell and his wife said with everything they’ve been through it wasn’t the news they wanted to hear.

“No Christmas, no holiday, it’s just been terrible,” said Rockwell.

Rockwell is also concerned that looters have already been through his home.

Woodhaven Apartment management did not return repeated attempts for comment.

Fire investigators said the cause of the fire is arson but haven’t made any arrests in the case.

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