ADT didn’t alert officials to alarms at burning home with Kansas mom inside, suit says


ADT received two alarms at a burning Topeka home in August 2016.

The security services company didn’t alert authorities and “inexplicably … fully cleared” the incident about an hour before the body of a lifeless Topeka woman was pulled from the home, according to a wrongful death lawsuit filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas.

Elizabeth Frost, who was 36, later died at a hospital. The suit was filed on behalf of Frost’s only child, a minor identified as M.F.

The suit charges ADT with two counts of negligence and one count of fraud, deception and breaching the Kansas Consumer Protection Act and its agreement with Frost.

Firefighters didn’t respond to Frost’s home in the 3400 block of S.E. Indiana Avenue until after city employees noticed the fire and called 911 around 3 a.m.

ADT received the first alarm at the home, for a broken glass window, about 90 minutes earlier. The second alarm, for a failure of the home system’s main keypad, was received two minutes later, according to the lawsuit.

An employee with ADT attempted to contact Frost three times, according to the suit. The employee also attempted to contact Frost’s mother twice. All calls went unanswered.

But at 2:04 a.m., about 30 minutes after the first alarm, the employee cleared the incident, the suit says. The employee made no attempt to contact first responders.

“(ADT’s) negligence directly and/or indirectly caused (Frost) profound conscious pain and suffering as well as (Frost’s) death,” the suit says.

The suit claims ADT fraudulently misrepresented its services to customers.

ADT made statements on its website ensuring customers that if an ADT employee couldn’t make contact with a resident under an alarm, “the authorities will be notified,” according to the suit.

“These representations were known to be false or untrue by (ADT),” the suit says, “or were recklessly made without knowledge concerning them.”

The suit seeks damages for Frost’s pain and mental anguish prior to her death and subsequent medical expenses. It also seeks damages for the loss suffered by Frost’s child.

Frost died of carbon monoxide poisoning from the inhalation of smoke and soot.