Class action lawsuit proposed in response to fatal fire in Dartmouth

WATCH: Tenants who were displaced following a fatal fire in Dartmouth this spring are now joining together for a class action lawsuit. Alicia Draus reports.

It’s been nearly six months since a fatal fire displaced 150 residents from 81 Primrose St. in Dartmouth.. The building, which is still under repair, stands as a painful reminder to those who were affected.

“The fire didn’t end on May 19,” said former tenant Sarah Parker. “We are still dealing with it now, and we will for a while.”

READ MORE: 1 dead, 150 displaced following fire in Dartmouth

Parker was rescued from her balcony the night of the fire but lost everything in her apartment. Now she is the lead plaintiff in a proposed class action lawsuit.

“This was a situation that could have been prevented,” she said.

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The suit is being filed against Northview apartments, D.D 81 Primrose LTD, the Halifax Regional Municipality and the Halifax Regional Water Commission.

It alleges that smoke detectors did not go off in a timely manner and that “the Plaintiff states that neither her apartment nor any public areas of the apartment building that she is familiar with were equipped with a fire sprinkler system.”

The notice of action alleges negligence of the water commission due to  maintenance of fire hydrants “which did not work on the morning of May 19, 2018.”

“We have evidence the fire did not have to be as large. It did not have to have as much damage,” said Parker.

“We have evidence that prevention could have made a big difference that night.”

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Lawyer David Coles with Clarke Law Firm is representing Parker and the other tenants. He says the suit has been publicly filed and the defendants are now being served. The next step will be to have the class action suit certified.

WATCH: 1 dead, 150 displaced following fire in Dartmouth

1 dead, 150 displaced following fire in Dartmouth
1 dead, 150 displaced following fire in Dartmouth

“Essentially what we’re saying is there shouldn’t be 40 separate trials for liability,” he said.

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For Parker, it is about seeing some accountability.

“I am angry, because our complaints were not listened too,” she said.

Already, 40 tenants have signed onto the lawsuit, which is open to anyone who was living at 81 Primrose St. on May 19.

READ MORE: Fatal fire in Dartmouth ‘likely’ caused by careless use of smoking materials

Northview Apartments has not responded to requests for comment and a spokesperson for Halifax Water said they will not be commenting as the case is now before the courts.

In an email to Global News, a spokesperson from the the municipality says it will be defending the action.

“We have reviewed our actions from the day of the fire and there was no negligence on the part of the fire service,” the statement reads.

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