Las Vegas Property Owner Facing Manslaughter Charges From Fatal Fire Sues City

The owner of a Las Vegas property who is facing manslaughter charges over a multi-fatality fire in 2019, has filed suit against the city and his fire alarm company, alleging they and others are responsible for the fire deaths.

Adolpho Orozco, owner of Las Vegas Dragon Hotel LLC, filed suit in Clark County District Court earlier this week naming the city of Las Vegas, EDS Electronics, Inc., Advanced Protection Industries, Inc., Jason Casteel and Corey Evans as defendants. The December 21, 2019 fire at the Alpine Motel claimed the lives of Kerry Baclaan, 46; Donald Keith Bennett, 63; Tracy Ann Cihal, 57; and Francis Lombardo Jr., 72; Cynthia Mikell, 61; and Henry Lawrence Pinc, 70.

The fire was ruled accidental. However, the fire alarm system was reportedly disabled, and at least one exit was blocked. The building also had some 40 fire code violations. According to the Las Vegas Review Journal, Orozco and Malinda Mier are facing involuntary manslaughter and other felony charges stemming from the fire. Mier was the motel’s manager at the time.

Since the complaint is not available, the following details are taken from the Review Journal’s coverage. This story will be updated once a copy of the complaint is obtained. On November 28, 2019 (three weeks before the fire) someone pulled a false alarm at the motel. Casteel, who lived at the motel and served as a “live-in manager”, allegedly “helped to disable the alarm.” While unclear from the news coverage, it appears the suit is alleging that neither the city nor the alarm company ever followed up on the trouble signal. The suit also alleges that the city had not inspected the property in three years.

More on the story.

UPDATE: December 3, 2021 – Here is the complaint:

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 45 years of fire service experience and 35 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, 4th ed. 2022) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.

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