Sudbury

Fiancé of Sudbury CAS worker Nicole Belair sues city, landlord for $1.25M

The widowed fiancé of a Sudbury children's aid worker who died in an apartment fire three years ago is suing the owners of the building, the woman who lived in the unit where the fire started and the City of Greater Sudbury.

Lawsuit also names manufacturer of refrigerator that started fire in May 2014

The man who lost his fiancée in a fire in Hanmer in May 2014 is asking a court to award him $1.25 million in damages.

Nicole Belair, a 33-year-old case worker for the Sudbury children's aid society, was visiting a client in an apartment building in Hanmer when it caught fire.

She was found unconscious and later died in hospital.

A fire at this 16-unit apartment building in Hanmer in May 2014 killed CAS worker Nicole Belair, who was visiting a client at the time. (Hilary Duff/CBC)

Her fiancé, Stephen Davidson, filed suit in April 2016 against the owners of the building, the woman who lived in the apartment where the fire started, the manufacturer of the refrigerator that started the fire and the City of Greater Sudbury, which the lawsuit claims hired "incompetent" firefighters who failed to respond in a "safe or timely" manner.

The lawsuit alleges that David and Michelle Burns, the owners of the 16-unit building on Rita Street in Hanmer, failed to maintain the building properly or install proper fire doors. It says the late Diane Paquette didn't properly maintain the refrigerator in her apartment or contain the fire in her apartment.

Aerus and Electrolux, the makers of the fridge, are also alleged to have not corrected defects in their design or issued a recall.

Nicole Belair's fiancee is suing the City of Greater Sudbury, the owner of the apartment building, the tenant in the unit where the fire started and the manufacturers of the fridge that exploded and started the fire in 2014. (Erik White/CBC)

The building owners filed a statement of defence with the court, refuting the allegations and claiming that Belair "behaved unreasonably" when she re-entered the burning building and failed to "protect herself" from danger.

They also filed a cross claim, seeking damages if anyone else was found negligent in the fire.

The City of Greater Sudbury also filed a statement of defence, stating that the fire department followed provincial standards in responding to the call "expeditiously, professionally and with adequate resources." 

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