Apartment Fire Lawsuit Filed Over Wrongful Death of Tenant

A wrongful death lawsuit has been filed against a Texas assisted living apartment complex by the family of a woman who died due to complications from burns received in a fire. 

The complaint was filed by the family of Melody Fitzgerald Rivera in Galveston County Probate Court on February 14, against H M Management Co., and Texas City Limited Partnership, doing business as Colonial Park Apartments.

Rivera, 52, was a resident at the Texas City apartment complex when a fire broke out on April 7, 2010, causing third-degree burns to 65% of her body.

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According to the apartment fire lawsuit, the incident was sparked by an electrical problem in a mechanical closet housing air conditioning and heating equipment. The power cord was draped across the top of the equipment so it could reach an electrical outlet, the lawsuit alleges.

The fire spread quickly at 1:30 A.M., while Rivera was sleeping. She was rescued by firefighters, but not before suffering severe injuries. After being treated at the University of Texas Medical Branch, she underwent four skin grafts. Her wounds eventually became septic, which proved to be fatal and she died on April 21, 2010, of acute respiratory failure.

The lawsuit was filed by Rivera’s children, Clifford Ray Trapani and Gail Trapani Andersen. They are seeking $25 million in damages.


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