First Wrongful Death Lawsuit Filed in Fatal Mo. Group Home Fire

December 7, 2006

The first civil lawsuit stemming from a fire that killed 10 people at a southwest Missouri group home for the mentally ill was filed claiming negligence by the home’s owner and the group that operated the facility.

The parents and wife of 19-year-old Glen Taff filed a wrongful death lawsuit in McDonald County court, alleging that building owner Robert Dupont and the Joplin-based River of Life Ministries that ran the Anderson Guest House failed to fix faulty electrical wiring and install a sprinkler system.

The home had working fire alarms but no sprinklers when it burned Nov. 27.

Taff was a caregiver at the home, where nine other residents died and two dozen people were injured, including Taff’s wife, Amanda.

Investigators said the fire, which started overnight in the unfinished attic of the single-story home, was possibly caused by faulty wiring. But investigators said they may never know for sure since all the evidence was likely lost in the blaze.

“Mr. Dupont and River of Life had a duty to ensure that the premises of the Anderson Guest House were free of dangerous conditions, including but not limited to the defective wiring and the lack of a sprinkler system,” according to the lawsuit, which seeks damages of at least $25,000 for wrongful death and the injuries to Amanda Taff.

Topics Lawsuits Missouri

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