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Tenants in Texas apartment fire file lawsuit

Multiple plaintiffs are seeking compensation in a lawsuit arising out of a fire that occurred recently in an 11-story high-rise apartment building located in the city of Castle Hills. The fire, which gutted the third floor of the Wedgewood Senior Living apartments, resulted in at least five deaths, dozens of injuries, and the loss of their homes for all of the surviving residents.

The question of whether the defendant owners and managers of the apartment building acted negligently in the lead-up to the fire centers on issues such as whether they took reasonable precautions to either prevent a fire from breaking out, or to put measures into place to give the residents more time to escape a fire once it began.

The plaintiffs' lawsuit alleges that when the fire broke out the Wedgewood apartments did not have basic fire safety equipment installed, including working smoke detectors, fire alarms or an alert system for residents who had vision or hearing impairments. Furthermore, the complaint accuses the defendants of failing to enforce a no-smoking policy in the building, and of failing to install adequate emergency lighting or a fire sprinkler system.

Some of the residents reported having difficulty escaping the building, including encountering locked and bolted emergency exits. Residents in wheelchairs apparently had trouble getting out at all, and other residents reported confusion about not knowing what to do in the event of a fire emergency.

The San Antonio Fire Chief has indicated that had a sprinkler system been in place, it would have been helpful in not only reducing the fire damage to the building, but also in giving residents more time to find a way to escape.

At least seven surviving Wedgewood residents have joined in the lawsuit so far, and more may do so in the near future. If you or a loved one has been the victim in a fire that may have been caused due to negligence it is a good idea to seek the advice of an experienced attorney.

Source: San Antonio Express-News, "Another lawsuit filed against Wedgewood as other cities review sprinkler policies," Drew Joseph, Jan. 21, 2015

Secondary Source: WOAI, "Wedgewood Tenants File Multi Million Dollar Lawsuit," Jan. 21, 2015

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