SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Utah) - The first lawsuits over the deadly warehouse fire in Oakland, California have been filed. The families of two of the victims killed in the fire, Michela Gregory and Griffin Madden, have filed wrongful death lawsuits.
On December 2nd, a fire ripped through the 4,000 square foot warehouse in Oakland known as the Ghost Ship. 36 people were killed, including 34-year-old Utah native Edmond Lapine.
Bob Lapine, Edmond's father told Good4Utah, "36 wonderful people lost their lives when they didn't have to. No one went into that building expecting to never come out again."
The attorney for the two families who have filed wrongful death suits claims the building was a death trap. Mary Alexander says the building wasn't up to code; it didn't have smoke alarms, fire extinguishers or even safe exits. "It's hard to imagine a worse place with all the kindling and the wiring that, once it caught on fire, it was just impossible for these people to escape," said Alexander.
The lawsuits name the building's owner, the landlord, event promoters and neighboring landlords who according to the lawsuits were supplying electricity to the warehouse.
Lapine said, "I do know that there was a back step or stairs in the building covered in power cables."
What Lapine doesn't know is whether he will join the other families in filing wrongful death suits. "It's hard to figure out what to do," said Lapine. "I think someone needs to be held accountable for the lives that were lost. We'll let the courts decide which it should be."
Lapine says he doesn't want to profit from his son's death. He says if he does decide to file a wrongful death suit any money raised will go towards two music scholarships that have been set up in Edmond's name.
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