Huntington man blames apartment complex owner for fire injuries

HUNTINGTON -- A Huntington man is suing the owner of the apartment complex he lived in when a fire was started in the complex and he suffered burn injuries when attempting to escape.

On March 12, 2011, a fore started in William Erwin's third floor apartment and the fire and copious amounts of smoke and toxic gasses spread over and through the apartment building at an extremely rapid rate of speed, according to a complaint filed April 18 in Cabell Circuit Court.

Erwin claims he was asleep in his bedroom when the fire started and when he woke up, the fire had reached his bedroom.

The apartment owned by Marion Reed Jr., who is doing business as Mort Reed, Inc., did not have secondary means of escape or egress from the apartment as required by law, according to the suit.

Erwin claims he was forced to travel through the burning flames to reach the front door, which caused him to sustain second degree burns to more than 28 percent of his body.

Despite the defendant's knowledge that the apartment unit was dangerous and unsafe with only one means of egress or escape, the defendant failed to remedy and/or correct the unsafe conditions and continued to permit individuals to reside and live in the unsafe and dangerous third-floor apartment, according to the suit.

Erwin is seeking compensatory and punitive damages with pre- and post-judgment interest. He is being represented by Timothy C. Bailey, J. Ryan Stewart and Arik C. Paraschos.

The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge F. Jane Hustead.

Cabell Circuit Court case number: 12-C-247

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