After the 2017 Marco Polo condo fire led to the wrongful deaths of four condo residents, our team at the nationally recognized firm Davis Levin Livingston took legal action on behalf of the victims’ families by filing suit against the management companies of Marco Polo, the Association of Apartment Owners of the Marco Polo Apartments, and Ohana Control Systems Inc.
In the suit, which was filed almost a year after the fire, we asserted our clients’ allegations that the fatal blaze could have been prevented if the building had basic fire safety measures in place. Instead, the defendants purportedly allowed the following to exist at the condominium:
- The absence of smoke detectors in the majority of the units;
- The absence of a comprehensive fire sprinkler system;
- The use of widespread propped-open fire doors that failed to effectively contain the fire;
- An outdated fire alarm system so inadequate that many of the residents could not hear it when it sounded;
- A fire alarm system unmonitored by the Honolulu Fire Department, which would have cost little money to install; and
- An elevator system that was not maintained or fit to provide firefighters easy access to different floors.
In other words, neither the association nor the apartment manager provided the safety measures needed for the event of a fire. The three previous fires at Marco Polo that occurred in the 14 years before the 2017 fire serve as hard evidence of continued negligence.
“The function of a managing agent of a condo board that we are suing, Associa in this particular case, had the duty to explain clearly what is at risk,” Attorney Mark Davis of Davis Levin Livingston told KHON2, “Not that there is going to be an expenditure of certain amount of money, but that there are people who will die if these situations are not adequately addressed.”
In honor of the victims of the Marco Polo condo fire — Britt Reller, Melba Dilly, and Joann Kuwata who were killed during the fire and Marilyn Van Gieson who died weeks later due to smoke inhalation — families came together to establish the Community Kokua Foundation for Fire Safety and Recovery. This nonprofit organization aims to prevent fires through educational efforts and to provide assistance to fire victims.
About Davis Levin Livingston
Our attorneys at Davis Levin Livingston have represented burn victims for more than 40 years. We are proud to advocate for Hawaii residents and guide them through some of the most trying times of their lives. If you are seeking legal representation for a complex case, do not hesitate to reach out to our legal team. Call us at (808) 740-0633 or contact us online today.