By Leisa Zigman I-Team Reporter
St. Louis (KSDK) - St. Louis Fire Marshal and Deputy Fire Chief Charles Coyle confirmed Wednesday that his office never approved the architectural drawings for the Central West End apartment complex that went up in flames Tuesday night. The building is located at 3949 Lindell Blvd, in the Central West End near Midtown.
Around 250 people, including students from Harris-Stowe University, Saint Louis University, St. Louis College of Pharmacy, and Washington University are now homeless.
According to Deputy Chief Coyle, approval and consent of the fire marshal is required by code before construction starts.
In the meantime, St. Louis Fire Chief Dennis Jenkerson said light weight construction and cheap building materials accelerated the fire that burned through the apartment complex.
"The fire traveled so fast, it was so hot, it just got ahead of the fire drafts," said Chief Jenkerson.
[Reporter]: "Should this building have been built if the fire marshal didn't get a chance to review the drawings?"
"We're looking at that right now. It's all under investigation with building officials and fire marshal's office," said Chief Jenkerson.
The building's owners, EdR, would not comment saying its focus today is making sure students have a place to live. Memphis-based EdR, or Education Realty Trust, is one of the largest developers and operators of collegiate housing in the country, and located in 23 states.
Of local interest, EdR owns Cape Trails at Southeast Missouri State and The Reserve at the University of Missouri and Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.
Records obtained by the I-Team show the building is apparently up to code. The sprinklers worked, the fire alarm worked, and the fire doors worked. Permits show EdR spent about $400,000 on the current sprinkler system.
A spokesperson with EdR said the complext will be demolished. Right now, investigators believe the fire might have started in the electrical system.