A San Francisco man whose mother died in a Northern California fire that tore through Siskiyou County earlier this month has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the company that owns the sawmill where the fire started.
Lawyers for Joselito Bereso Candasa filed a lawsuit in San Francisco Superior Court on Wednesday against Roseburg Forest Products, claiming the company was responsible for the Sept. 2 plant fire. The fire killed two people, including one of Candasa’s 65-year-olds. mother, Lorenza Glover, of Weed.
The Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office identified the other victim as 73-year-old Marilyn Hilliard, also of Weed.
The blaze also injured three people, destroyed 118 structures and damaged 26 others while burning 3,935 acres, according to Cal Fire. Firefighters brought the blaze under control on Tuesday. The lawsuit claims that Candasa was one of those injured.
In the lawsuit, attorneys for Candasa claim that the fire started in or near a warehouse owned and operated by Roseburg Forest Products Co. The lawsuit alleges that the negligent maintenance and operation of the warehouse by the company contributed to the fire hazard and helped start the fire.
“There was a co-generator in the plant that was producing ash,” Candasa attorney Russell Reiner said Thursday. “This ash has not been cooled.”
The result, Reiner said, was a fire in a “building the size of a football field.”
Documents filed in the lawsuit said Lorenza Glover was talking to a neighbor who called Glover’s cell phone after the mill fire erupted. The caller said Glover said he saw smoke and then was heard gasping and groaning. At that time, the phone broke down.
The lawsuit states that Glover died from exposure to fire and smoke.
Roseburg Forest Products spokesman Pete Hillan did not comment on the lawsuit when asked for a response, but said the company has already begun the process of providing financial assistance to 80 fire survivors. through a $50 million community relief fund.
Hillan said the funds are intended to help residents with requests for temporary housing, transportation, food and clothing, and medical issues.