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Residents raise concerns over apartment fire cleanup

Jefferson City firefighters and city code enforcement returned to an apartment complex Friday that was damaged in a fire the day before.

Residents told ABC 17 News they called city officials after their landlord did not properly clean up the ash and soot left by the blaze.

“He’s just painting over the black stuff instead of making it sanitary for us to live here,” resident Akisha Pimnell said.

Asst. Chief Tim Grace with the Jefferson City Fire Department said the apartment complex was not breaking any city codes Friday, but it needed to be cleaned professionally.

The landlord told officials Thursday he called a professional cleaning company to come that morning, according to Grace.

But that never happened.

ABC 17 News got a look inside the apartment Friday. A layer of ash covered the interior and tenants said they saw the landlord paining over soot-covered walls.

“I have black stuff coming out my nose, black stuff coming out my mouth, coughing up,” Pimnell said. “They don’t care about us.”

ABC 17 News called the landlord Friday to find out why he did not call professional cleaners before the families had to sleep in the apartment complex Thursday night. But he hung up.

Firefighters did reach the landlord, however, and waited at the complex with police until a professional cleaning company arrived.

Pimnell said she just wanted the apartment clean again for her kids’ health.

“All I thought about was my kids,” Pimnell said. “That’s all.”

Starting Friday night, Grace the American Red Cross was giving the families a place to stay for the next few days.

Fire officials ruled the fire was started in or near a hallway trash can on the second floor of the apartment complex. The department is still investigating the cause of the fire.

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ABC 17 News Team

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