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Post Fire Evacuation

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LITTLE ROCK -

Would you move out of an apartment early if it would cost you thousands of dollars?

For one Little Rock man the answer is yes. And he is moving out tomorrow.

Robert Dykes believes there is an arsonist targeting his apartment complex.

He says there have been five fires this year, and even though no one has been injured he fears it is only a matter of time.

On May 16th a fire destroyed 34 units in the North building of Forest Place Apartments. 150 people lost property in the fire and it got a lot of media coverage.

Last week there was a fire in the elevator shaft of the South building.

It was contained so it didn't get as much attention. But residents realize it was the fifth fire at Forest Place Apartments this year.

"Do you rest uneasy because..."

"Yeah, I haven't slept in a week," says Dykes. "You don't know if you're gonna die in fire number six."

Dykes is moving out. On Wednesday. He asked to get out of his lease and was told no, so moving out early may end up costing him thousands of dollars.

"It's worth definitely living somewhere else and not having to deal with a property management that doesn't care enough about the residents who live here to provide enough security so that they don't die in an arson fire," believes Dykes. "Um...and you know it is money. My life is more important than money."

 

While Dykes says it is arson, fire investigators aren't saying anything.

A class action lawsuit filed a week after the big fire alleges that Missouri-based Maxus Properties failed to improve safety and security following several earlier fires and mandated renter's insurance that claimed to but actually did not cover personal property. Little Rock's Davidson Law Firm filed the suit.

Maxus Properties owns and manages apartment complexes in six states (Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, Texas, Indiana and Oklahoma). It manages four other apartment complexes in Little Rock (Highland Pointe, Northwest Hills, Barrington Hills and The Landings at Rock Creek).

"There are a lot of people who are staying," says Dykes regarding Forest Place Apartments. "They have lived here for 20, 30 years. And if they feel safe then they feel safe. Or maybe they don't have the means to move. I do have the means to move. And I just don't want to be a part of what is going on here."

So far our messages left with Maxus Properties and Forest Place Apartments have not bee returned.

Air date: June 11th, 2013