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Family of man killed in fire sues fire dept.

The family says firefighters arrived late and were unprepared

By FireRescue1 Staff

SCOTTSBLUFF, Neb. — A Neb. Family is filing a wrongful death claim against the city and its fire department after a man was killed in fire earlier this year.

Salome "Sal" Blanco, 92, died of smoke inhalation in a fire at his home Jan. 6, while his wife escaped, according to the Kearny Hub.

Three Scottsbluff fire departments arrived to fight the fire, but the family alleges that the arriving crews were not adequately prepared and were "unreasonably delayed."

"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," a letter from the family read.

Nebraska Deputy State Fire Marshal Mike Turner told the news outlet that the fire was caused by ashes deposited on a back porch. The ashes, which were from a fireplace, were hot and burned through a container.

Maren Chaloupka, an attorney representing the Blancos would not confirm what the specific acts of negligence were, but told the Kearny Hub "the Scottsbluff Fire Department failed to do what firefighters are trained to do."

The family is seeking $1 million in damages, the maximum amount allowed under state statute.

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