Greenville Avenue fire triggers $6 million lawsuit

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by CRAIG CIVALE / WFAA-TV

wfaa.com

Posted on April 12, 2010 at 9:40 PM

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DALLAS — The blame game is about to begin in the wake of that massive fire along Greenville Avenue last month.

A lawsuit that will be filed Tuesday on behalf of Greenville Avenue Bar and Grill points the finger of blame at Greenville Landmark, the owner of the building, claiming the company was negligent.

"We believe the landlord had responsibility to make sure that the building met code," said attorney Larry Friedman.

Just a few weeks before the fire, Terilli's restaurant was cited by Dallas Fire-Rescue for 17 fire code violations. It's believed the fire started in the restaurant and quickly spread, destroying Terilli's, Greenville Avenue Bar and Grill, and two other establishments in the same building.

"There were over a dozen citations on that property for fire code violations," Friedman said. "If there were more diligence, perhaps this fire wouldn't have occurred."

Terilli's passed an inspection prior to the fire and is not named as a defendant in the lawsuit, which is seeking nearly $6 million in damages.

According to the lawsuit, the building's roof was one of the biggest problems. The plaintiffs claim it was leaking and was not structurally sound.

"Had it been up to standard, it would have taken longer for the roof to burn, and given the fire department enough time to get there and prevent the spread of the fire," Friedman said.

While fire investigators say the damage to the building was just over $1.5 million, the suit is asking for up to $6 million in damages to property and loss of business.

A spokesperson for the building's owner did not return calls from News 8 on Monday afternoon. The owner of the Greenville Avenue Bar and Grill said he did not wish to discuss the lawsuit at this time.

E-mail ccivale@wfaa.com

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