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CONSHOHOCKEN, PA-A class action complaint has been filed against the developer and several co-defendants following an eight-alarm fire last week at the Riverwalk at Millennium, a multi-building luxury apartment complex. The lawsuit has been filed in Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas on behalf of the tenants displaced by the fire. The suit alleges negligence on the part of the developer, building and management contractors involved in the project.

Defendants named in the complaint are the developer, O’Neill Properties Group of King of Prussia and its subsidiary, Merion Construction; L21 Construction Managers in Leesport, PA.; and Bozutto Corp. in Greenbelt, MD. O’Neill and Bozutto did not return calls in time for publication. L21 could not be reached for comment. The Philadelphia firm of Saltz, Mongeluzzi, Barrett & Bendesky PC, is representing the plaintiffs. A call was not returned to GlobeSt.com from the firm.

Two of the buildings within the complex were completely destroyed by the fire, which required some 300 firefighters to get under control. Residents in the buildings that were spared the flames have since been allowed to return. The Montgomery County District Attorney has revealed that the fire was accidental, started by a construction worker’s torch in the Stables at Millennium apartment building under development at the complex.

In prepared statements Saltz, Mongeluzzi, Barrett & Bendesky maintain that initial reports about the fire suggest it could have been prevented. According to the complaint, the Stables project was wood-frame construction that didn’t have any fire protection measures, including a functioning automatic sprinkler system.

The law firm intends to focus on the relationship between the developer, O’Neill Properties, and the general contractor, Merion Construction, Robert Mongeluzzi says in a prepared statement. “It is the role of the GC to act independently to ensure the safety of the construction site. However, in this case Merion is a wholly owned subsidiary of O’Neill Properties.”

Meanwhile, the tenants from the complex have formed an association to advocate for their interests. This group, called the Riverwalk Tenants Network, is not related to the lawsuit, a spokesman tells GlobeSt.com. Rather, it has established an online forum on Facebook to help tenants find new living quarters and otherwise provide guidance to the process of restarting their lives. The group also formed to keep the tight knit community of apartment dwellers together as much as possible. “At least half a dozen former tenants have left the community already,” the spokesman says.

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