Code Enforcement Failure Results in Charges and Wrongful Death Suit

A fire in Grand Isle, Louisiana in 2012, that killed two people has led to criminal charges against a fire inspector and a civil suit that names the inspector and the state fire marshal’s office.

The September 26, 2012 fire in the Rusty Pelican motel happened months after fire inspector Nunzio Marchiofava was supposed to have followed up on complaints about fire code violations. Marchiofava was later charged with falsifying documents related to his inspections of the motel.

Killed in the fire were Belle Christin Brandl, 60, and Timothy Foret, 46. Their families filed suit against the motel’s owner, Lloyds of London as the building’s insurer, the Louisiana Office of State Fire Marshal, and Marchiofava.

Although the suit was filed in 2013, and the plaintiffs have reportedly settled with the motel’s owner and Lloyds, leaving the state and Marchiofava potentially on the hook for the balance of damages.

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About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 40 years of fire service experience and 30 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.

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