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Negligence Suit Filed For Fire Death


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11/17/2008
Brent Adams
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A man from Orange County has filed a wrongful death suit alleging negligence on the part of the property owners and manager of the apartment in Carrboro where his mother died in a September 30 fire. He claims that the death of his mother was “a direct and proximate result of the negligence.”

Juan Arango is the administrator of the estate of his mother, Gloria Inez Suarez, who died after her apartment complex caught fire and spread quickly. Two others sustained personal injuries after jumping from the building.

According to Arango, the fire would not have spread as rapidly, allowing more time for residents to safely escape, had Colonial Properties Trust and its property manager, Renee Schumacher, properly maintained the building. Also according to the suit, had the smoke detectors been properly working, the residents would have been alerted more quickly.

According to Arango’s attorney, the building failed the inspection by the Carrboro Fire Department on January 4, 2007, and the landlord failed to remedy the problems. He also said the smoke alarms failed to go off and residents weren’t alerted until it was too late.

According to Deputy Fire Chief Trey Mayo of the Carrboro Fire Department, there was an approximated 28-minute gap between the start of the fire and the time the fire station was notified. However, he noted that it could have been due to the fire being after 1 a.m.

Arango seeks $10,000 in damages from the suit, which his attorney says is the maximum amount allowed by N.C. state law.

Krisitin Pietrowicz, a former student at UNC, and Susan Thorne, a Chapel Hill High School teach, filed a joint suit against Colonial Properties Trust due to suffering debilitating injuries to their legs from the fire, according to their attorney. He says that Pietrowicz’s injuries were so severe that she was forced to withdraw from graduate school and Thorne’s injuries required that she take the entire year off on disability leave.

Category: General


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