Faulty smoke detector is blamed in wrongful death suit

Steve Gonzalez Jul. 11, 2005, 2:22pm

81 Abel Ct. in Pontoon Beach

The relative of a Pontoon Beach man who perished two years ago in an apartment fire filed a wrongful death suit in Madison County Circuit Court July 11 seeking damages from the property owner and smoke detector manufacturer.

Barbara Lilley claims Duane Lilley died from smoke inhalation July 11, 2003, in his apartment at 81 Abel Ct.

According to the complaint, the owner of the apartment, Chouteau Properties, failed to have properly working smoke detectors in the apartment building.

Represented by Thomas Falb of Alton, Lilley is seeking damages in excess of $350,000. The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Nicholas Byron.

She also claims Chouteau Properties broke the law by not abiding by state and local smoke detector laws.

"Duane Lilly was caused to suffer pain and suffering and die in that the smoke detectors did not operate when the fire took place, preventing him from being notified of the fire in order to get out of the apartment," the complaint states.

Lilley also blames designer and manufacturer of the smoke detector, Maple Chase Company and Firex and Invensys Climate Controls Americas, for the smoke detector's failure and lack of maintenance instructions.

According to the complaint, Maple and Firex also were negligent for:

  • manufacturing the smoke detector so it would not work at the time of the fire;

  • failing to have a warning device indicating that the smoke detector was not working.

    "Duane was not warned that a fire was taking place in the apartment and was unable to get out of the apartment alive," the complaint states.

    05 L 623

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