The current and former owners of the fire escape-less Bronx tower that caught on fire and killed 17 people have been slapped with a massive $3 billion class-action lawsuit.
On Tuesday, two tenants of 333 E. 181st St. filed the suit alleging that the landlords “had actual notice of defective conditions” at the 19-story building, NY Post reports.
The survivors of the vicious fire feel the building’s owners should be held liable, while a separate filing holds the city “responsible” for the tragedy and wants everyone affected to receive $1 billion.
The suit names a self-closing door that malfunctioned and let smoke pour out of an apartment set ablaze by an electric space heater on Sunday.
Rosa Reyes and Felix Martinez, a married couple who lived in the building and are the lead plaintiffs, are seeking $1 billion in compensatory damages for alleged negligence and another $2 billion in punitive damages on behalf of themselves and “all others similarly situated.”
Another plaintiff, Jessika Valdez, is grateful she made it out of her 18th-floor apartment alive but is now afraid to return to the place she called home for 15 years, News 12 reports. Valdez claims that the door to her 18th-floor apartment “never closed on its own” during the time she’s lived there.
“We always had to pull it closed,” Valdez said.
NYC medical examiners found that the 17 victims of the fire, including a 2-year-old, died of smoke inhalation, CNN reports. Officials said that the smoke spread because the door of the apartment that initially caught fire was open, as well as the door from the stairwell to the 15th floor. Doors in the building were supposed to close automatically.
Now the buildings past and current owners are facing a massive class-action suit for what’s being considered one of the deadliest fires in New York City history in decades.
“If you’re renting to me, it’s OK if you don’t have an emotional tie to me, but you have to protect your investment. I’m your investment,” Valdez said.