Maryland Man Who Lost Family in Fire Sues Over Lack of Smoke Alarms

August 22, 2007

Alleging that a Baltimore apartment building’s management failed to install smoke detectors in the their where his fiancee and child died in a fire, a man has sued the manager for $52.3 million.

The suit was filed in Baltimore Circuit Court by Roy Riley Jr., 28, who said he was left homeless after the July 14 fire. His pregnant fiancee, Raheem Rasheedah Muhammad, 28, their son, Royelle Edward Riley, 9, and Muhammad’s niece, Markia Summerfield, 7, who was visiting, died in the blaze.

The lawsuit names as the defendant Salomon Rosskamn of the Blue Fountain Apartments.

At a news conference, Riley’s lawyer, David Ellin, said, “This fire was easily preventable had a smoke detector been in Mr. Riley’s apartment.” Ellin added that he hoped the lawsuit would cause other landlords to “instead of trying to save a few bucks, they might try to save a few lives.”

The lawsuit claims that of the 12 apartments in the building, three had smoke detectors, and just two of those were working. The other apartments had no smoke detectors, the lawsuit alleges.

Chief Kevin Cartwright, a spokesman for the Baltimore Fire Department, said Monday that the cause of the fire remained under investigation, but he had confirmed after the blaze that the apartment where the three people died did not have a smoke detector.

Riley, an electrician, said the fire left him, “Destroyed. Hurt. I will always feel pain.”


Information from: The (Baltimore) Sun,

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