Survivors of the Bronx apartment fire responsible for 17 deaths and countless other injuries have filed a class-action lawsuit against the building’s landlords. According to multiple news outlets, couple Rosa Reyes and Felix Martinez took legal action on behalf of themselves and other neighbors affected by the blaze. They are seeking $1 billion in damages.
According to the suit, the landlords were accused of improper maintenance of the building, which led to several “defective conditions” that were ignored. They allegedly failed to ensure that front doors, smoke detectors, fire escapes and electric lines and systems were in working order, and allowed alarms to go off often. The couple claims tenants were also void of an intercom system, a sprinkler system, and adequate and lawful heat.
In a separate lawsuit, Reyes and Martinez sued the city for their role in the apartment fire, and the deaths and injuries that followed. They alleged that the city’s Department of Buildings “failed in every way” to keep up with their tasks of ensuring that front doors were able to automatically shut on their own and generally making sure the building was being maintained. The couple also insisted that former Mayor Bill de Blasio and Buildings Commissioner Melanie LaRocca – who are named in the suit — were aware of the building’s conditions but failed to conduct inspections despite promising to do so after 13 were killed in a 2017 Bronx fire.
The lawsuits come in the wake of the fatal blaze that took several lives in the Bronx on Sunday (Jan. 9). The fire was caused by a nonworking space heater in an apartment; those who passed away died from smoke inhalation.