Family Responsible for Starting Fatal NYC Fire Sue for $1.1 Billion

The parents of a child who started a deadly fire that killed 13 and destroyed an apartment building are now suing eleven different entities, including the City of New York, for $100 million each, totaling a whopping $1.1 billion.

According to the New York Post, Rita and Mark Yeboah have filed suit in Bronx Supreme Court blaming the city, Con Edison, D&A Equities (owner of the building), Capitol Fireproof Door Company, a stove manufacturer and four other entities who were not disclosed in the story of responsibility for the blaze. A copy of the complaint is not available at this time to better explain the legal theories, but will be posted here once it is obtained.

News of the lawsuit is prompting outrage from the public. The December 28, 2017 fire reportedly began when the Yeboahs’ 3-year-old son, Micaiah, was playing with their stove. Rita is reported to have fled the apartment with her two sons leaving the door to the hallway wide open. The open door is said to have contributed to the rapid spread of the fire and doomed several of the victims.

The Post quoted neighbors as saying:

  • “I don’t think she should get a dime! Not a dime!”
  • “Seriously? That’s wild. I have no words. How does the city owe her a billion dollars? Isn’t it negligence on her part?”
  • “Oh, for real? For real? No, that’s crazy, she needs to go to jail. A bunch of people lost their lives, she gets nothing. I’m sorry, but no.”
  • “I would kick [the mother’s] a– all over the place.”
  • “You got to school your children. You and your children cost [13] people their lives.”

As I said, I am working to get a copy of the complaint and will post it here when available. More on the story.

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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