Solve It 7: Sturbridge Fire

STURBRIDGE, MASS. (WHDH) - Dean Frederick can still remember the unexpected Easter morning wake-up call when he found out his apartment complex was on fire.

“Very, very scary,” Dean says of the blaring fire alarms. “It was the first fire I’ve ever been in and hopefully the last.”

The three-alarm fire at the Sturbridge complex forced dozens of residents to scramble for safety including Dean and his girlfriend. 7News cameras were there and even interviewed Dean in the fire’s aftermath.

“We woke up to the alarm this morning,” Dean told 7News at the time. “We’re all gonna experience the smoke damage and God knows when we’ll be able to go inside.”

He was right. A first floor unit was destroyed and Dean’s third floor apartment suffered smoke and water damage.

Dean and his girlfriend had planned on moving out even before the fire. In fact, he had informed the property manager that they would be leaving when their lease expired at the end of May. But after the fire, they wanted to just get out.

“We had asked for permission to leave, which they granted us and we moved out about five, six days after the fire,” he says.

Dean says because of the fire, the company agreed to let them leave a month early without penalty.

“The agreement was that if we were out by the end of April, we would be refunded our entire last month’s rent for the month of May,” he says. That would amount to $1,200 back in Dean’s pocket.

Dean says the apartment complex manager told him he’d have his money back shortly, but after several weeks passed and no check, he tried reaching out again.

This time he got a much different response. The apartment manager said she spoke with its owner and, because Dean was breaking his lease early, would not be getting any money refunded. Dean was shocked.

“I just felt like I had been cheated,” he said.

Dean realized he needed help, so he reached out to Solve It 7.

We called the building manager, the person Dean says promised he’d get the money back. She told us she would speak to the owner. Less than a week later, Dean received a check in the mail for $1,200. “I’ve been smiling ever since!” he says.

“You guys going to bat for me really took it to the next level,” he says of Solve It 7’s involvement. “[You] gave them the push they needed to go in the right direction.”

If there’s a problem you can’t seem to solve on your own, give us a call at 617-367-7777 or send an email to

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