Deadly Fire: $29-Million Dollar judgment

July 9, 2008 9:21:00 PM PDT
A deadly fire has lead to one of the largest cash judgments in south valley history.The owners and managers of a south valley apartment complex were ordered to pay family members $29-million dollars for their role in a deadly fire.

Riza Poliquit and Arnel Bisnar can't forget the memories of their two young children, Lexus and Ariel who died along with three others in a fire at the Northgate Apartments in Lemoore nearly one year ago.

Riza Poliquit: "I remember all the time Lexus said, Mom I won't leave you! I love you so much mom you're the best mom in the whole world!"

Riza's daughter Michelle Mattison, her Fiance Derik Faubion, their two month old daughter, Hayden, also perished in that fire. An investigation found no working smoke detectors in the apartment. Now, a King's County Judge has ordered the apartment managers and owners to pay their families a total of $29-million dollars for negligence.

David Moeck: "Failure to have an operable smoke detector in the unit and failure to keep the premises in a safe condition allowing there to be so much garbage and trash built up in the unit below."

Firefighters say the fire started on the patio of a downstairs apartment directly beneath where the family lived. It's been nearly a year since the tragic fire, and construction crews have already started building new apartments where Derek Faubion and Michell Mattison's destroyed apartment once stood.

Mick Marderosian: "I think it's important to understand that not only did my clients lose all of their children and their only grandchild but they witnessed their demise."

Derik Faubion's mother was awarded 8 million dollars for her loss while Riza Poliquit and Arnel Bisnar were awarded $21 million but no money can ever replace losing their children.

Arnel Bisnar "It's been almost one year and we still miss our kids. It's not the money, it's our family, not the money."

Riza Poliquit: "It wouldn't have happened to us if no one died and they're all my life, all my babies, I don't have one left."

Riza and Arnel hope the lawsuit educates others on the importance of having a working smoke detector in your house. Calls to Lemoore Real Estate and Property Management were not returned.
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