The estate of a Nebraska man killed in a house fire earlier this year has placed the local fire department on notice that they consider the department to be responsible for the death.
Sal Blanco, 92, of Scottsbluff, died of smoke inhalation in the January 6, 2012 blaze. The fire was determined to have been caused by improperly discarded fireplace ashes. Despite that fact, Blanco’s family alleges that the fire department should be held responsible for his death.
Attorney Maren Chaloupka, representing Blanco’s family and his estate, filed a tort claim with the city on November 26, 2012. In the claim letter, Chaloupka alleged that: “More likely than not, he (Blanco) would not have suffered and died as he did had the Scottsbluff Fire Department met the appropriate standard of care in its response to the fire.”
The filing of the claim is a required preliminary step before a lawsuit can be filed. The city now has six months to evaluate and settle the claim before suit can be filed.