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Families of 2 more Las Vegas fire victims sue owner of Alpine Motel

The families of two more victims of the Alpine Motel Apartments fire in downtown Las Vegas, including relatives of a heroic maintenance worker who died after trying to get others out of the building, have filed lawsuits against the building’s owner.

The Dec. 21 fire left six people dead and 13 injured, making it the deadliest residential fire in Las Vegas history.

Both lawsuits, which were filed Friday, claim that Adolfo Orozco, who has owned the Alpine Motel through Las Vegas Dragon Hotel LLC since 2013, failed to maintain necessary utilities at the motel, such as heating, as well as safety equipment such as sprinklers and fire alarms.

Search warrant records show that the fire is the subject of a criminal investigation. Investigators seized Orozco’s cellphone and raided the property manager’s office in the days after the fire.

The first wrongful death lawsuit filed after the fire came in January on behalf of the family of Tracy Ann Cihal and was filed by the same law firm representing the families of the two victims who filed Friday.

Orozco’s attorney, Dominic Gentile, did not return a request for comment Sunday.

One of the latter lawsuits was filed by the father of 72-year-old Alpine Motel resident Francis Lombardo Jr., who was found dead inside the motel after the fire.

The second was filed by three children of Don Bennett, a 63-year-old Marine veteran and live-in maintenance worker at the motel who was credited with rushing door to door through the burning building to wake up sleeping residents. Bennett died at University Medical Center following the fire.

The Clark County coroner’s office has yet to determine a cause or manner of death for the six victims.

Both suits refer to the fire as a “senseless, avoidable tragedy” and allege failures by Orozco and the motel’s management to respond to multiple residents’ complaints or comply with building, housing and fire codes.

The lawsuits allege that Orozco and management were fully aware of unsafe conditions at the motel but did nothing to change them.

“As a result of defendants’ negligence, the building was in an unsafe and dangerous condition so that instead of protecting the tenants, it actually exposed the tenants to an unreasonable risk of harm and exacerbated, instead of mitigated, the damages caused by the fire,” both lawsuits state.

More than 40 fire code violations were discovered during an inspection of the property after the fire, including a defective fire alarm system as well as missing and inoperable smoke detectors.

The families of Bennett and Lombardo are each seeking upward of $50,000 in damages.


Contact Max Michor at mmichor@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0365. Follow @MaxMichor on Twitter.

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