Archive for Sunday, December 24, 2006

Families, survivors file suit in group home fire

December 24, 2006

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— The families of five people killed last month in a group home fire filed wrongful death lawsuits Friday against the facility and its operators, claiming they were negligent by not maintaining key safety equipment.

Three former residents injured in the Nov. 27 blaze also filed negligence suits against Joplin River of Life Ministries Inc., owners Robert and LaVerne DuPont and administrator Shirley Brannon.

The suits, filed in McDonald County Circuit Court, allege that River of Life Ministries failed to fix known maintenance problems and should have maintained a properly working fire alarm and installed a sprinkler system.

The home was exempt from sprinkler requirements, according to the state Department of Health and Senior Services.

The fire killed 11 people and injured two dozen. Investigators have not determined an exact cause but have said improper wiring in the attic may have been to blame.

Three survivors claim in their own suit that the fire caused extensive injuries and destroyed their property.

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