Bronx fire survivors file 1st lawsuit, seek $1B in damages

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Wednesday, January 12, 2022
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Derick Waller has more on the victims and a lawsuit seeking $1 billion in damages from the building's owners and management.

TREMONT, Bronx (WABC) -- A couple that survived Sunday's deadly fire in the Bronx has filed the first lawsuit against the building's landlords, claiming they knew of "defective conditions" at the building and failed to properly maintain it.

The negligence lawsuit, which seeks class-action status, was filed on behalf of Rosa Reyes and Felix Martinez who said they suffered serious injuries.

The lawsuit seeks $1 billion in damages from the building's owners and management.

WATCH | Congressman Ritchie Torres speaks out after deadly Bronx fire

In addition to accusing the landlords of failing to make sure the front doors of each apartment were self-closing, the lawsuit also alleged the defendants failed to ensure that the smoke detectors at the subject premises and within each apartment at the subject premises were functioning; failed to ensure that the fire escapes were in good working order; failed to provide adequate and lawful heat, allowed alarms to go off all the time, failed to have an intercom system throughout the premises, failed to have a sprinkler system, failed to ensure that the electric lines and systems at the subject premises were in good working order."

In a parallel filing, Reyes and Martinez sued the city, alleging the Department of Buildings paid "lip service to safety issues and fire issues and are responsible for the resulting injuries and deaths."

Eyewitness News received two responses to the lawsuits Wednesday morning.

From the NYC Law Department:

"This was a horrific tragedy and too many lives were lost. There is an active investigation into this tragic incident. We'll review the claim."

And from the Bronx Park Phase II Preservation, LLC, a consortium of owners:

"We are devastated by this terrible tragedy and are cooperating fully with the Fire Department and other agencies as they continue to investigate."

ALSO READ | How you can help families affected by Bronx fire

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