Drone photo by Jakob Hageman
Four plaintiffs join Iconic Village fire lawsuit
Four new plaintiffs have joined the lawsuit initiated by the father of one of the victims of the July 20 Iconic Village/Vintage Pads fire.
Benjamin Munoz, Abril Cardenas, Christina Martinez and Pablo Torres are the new plaintiffs in the suit that Phillip Miranda, father of James Miranda, filed at the end of July against apartment owners San Marcos Green Investors and managers Elevate Multifamily and Deborah Jones. The four new plaintiffs were residents of the Iconic Village complex.
The amended petition, filed in district court in Travis County, describes the plaintiffs’ experiences when the fire broke out.
“Plaintiff Christina Martinez was sleeping in her apartment at the complex when the
fire broke out, and was jolted awake by the sound of screams,” the petition reads. “Upon realizing the apartment complex was on fire, she quickly worked to gather her pet, as well as wake another person sleeping in the complex, before escaping. As Ms. Martinez was rushing to escape the flames, she could hear the screams of individuals coming from apartments engulfed with flames. During the escape, Ms. Martinez suffered injury to her knee(s), leg(s) and other parts of her body.”
The suit describes similar experiences for Torres, Munoz and Cardenas. Munoz and his girlfriend were asleep, and she woke when she heard glass breaking. He investigated and discovered the apartment was on fire.
“Despite the extensive amount of smoke and flames, no fire alarms and/or smoke detectors went off,” the petition reads. “Due to the overwhelming amount of smoke, Mr. Torres’ girlfriend became lightheaded, started coughing, and was on the verge of passing out. Mr. Torres had to break an apartment window in order to escape, along with his girlfriend and dog. As a result of the incident, Mr. Torres injured his arms, back, and other parts of his body.”
Munoz and Cardenas leaped from a second-story window to escape the fire, suffering severe injuries in the process, the petition reads.
Miranda had initially asked for damages in excess of $1 million. The new petition asks for a judgment for the plaintiffs “both jointly and severally, in a total sum in excess of $1,000,000.00, plus pre-judgment and post-judgment interests, all costs of Court,
exemplary damages, and all such other and further relief, to which they may show themselves justly entitled.” The plaintiffs have asked for a trial by jury.
The apartment fire broke out in the early morning hours of Friday, July 20 at Iconic Village, where it affected two buildings -- the 500 building most severely -- and jumped to the neighboring Vintage Pads complex, where damage was lighter. Fire departments from neighboring areas provided mutual aid to San Marcos firefighters at the scene. Five people died, at least seven were injured and about 200 were displaced by the inferno. State and federal investigators assisted local authorities in examining the premises, and the investigation is ongoing.
Kurt Arnold from Houston-based law firm Arnold & Itkin represents five victims of the fire.