New York apartment building owners face lawsuit after deadly fire: report

Published January 14, 2022, 8:29 AM

by Xinhua

A lawsuit has been filed against current and former owners of a residential building on behalf of victims in a recent major fire in the Bronx borough of New York City, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday.

Rosa Reyes and Felix Martinez, a couple who survived the fire and act as lead plaintiffs in the lawsuit, seek 1 billion U.S. dollars in compensatory damages for themselves and other fire victims, said the report, citing lawsuit files from Bronx Supreme Court.

The plaintiffs also seek class-action status and allege that those affected by the fire are collectively entitled to 2 billion dollars in punitive damages.

A malfunctioning electric space heater in one low-lying bedroom of the 19-story building caused the blaze on Sunday, leaving 17 people dead.

Defendants in the lawsuit include Bronx Park Phase III Preservation LLC, the current joint-venture owner of the building, the owner’s three member companies, as well as the former owner of the building, which changed hands in 2019, according to the report.

The current and former landlords failed to ensure the functioning of the fireproof doors and fire alarms or to provide adequate heat in the winter season, according to the plaintiffs.

Moreover, a notice of claim also was filed with the Office of the New York City Comptroller with an eye on seeking another 1 billion dollars for those who join the proposed class-action case. The 17 individuals killed in the Bronx fire have all been identified with the youngest just 2 years old.