Families of eight firefighters who were killed battling a South Carolina furniture store fire almost three years ago have settled with another group of lawsuit Defendants for more than $1.2 million. The fire at the Sofa Super Store in 2007 killed nine firefighters. This was the greatest single loss of firefighters in the nation since the 2001 terror attack on the World Trade Center.
The families of eight of the firefighters sued for wrongful death, naming 30 Defendants including the furniture store as well as various furniture manufacturers and equipment manufacturers. Settlements were reached in February with eight Defendants for just over $1.2 million. In late 2008, 12 other Defendants settled for a total of $5.6 million. At press time no date had been set for a trial with the remaining Defendants. A request was made by several Defendants to name the City of Charleston as a Defendant. The court denied that request. A 2008 report from a panel of experts brought in by the city after the fire concluded inadequate training, outdated tactics and aging equipment led to the firefighters’ deaths. The report found firefighters did not follow standard safety practices and had obsolete equipment. But it also found the blaze would have been confined to a loading dock where it started had sprinklers been installed in the store, which once was a grocery store.
The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said the specific cause of the fire was not found, but concluded discarded cigarettes or someone lighting materials at the store loading dock were likely causes.
Source: Insurance Journal
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