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Boardinghouse Fire Death Prompts Suit

September 23, 1993

SANTA ANA — The parents of a 5-year-old boy who died in a boardinghouse fire with two other people filed suit Wednesday against the owner of the house.

Jesus Castaneda Jr., whose parents filed the suit, died in the January fire along with 2-year-old Melissa Sanchez and her mother, Azusena Sanchez. Five other people in the Santa Ana house were injured.

Castaneda's Spanish-speaking mother, Maricela Fierros, charged that, after she leaped off the roof of the burning building, she tried unsuccessfully to get the English-speaking firefighters, police and paramedics to enter the home to save her child.

Fire officials have disputed the allegation.

In the lawsuit filed Wednesday, Fierros and Jesus Castaneda Sr. charged that their son died because the boardinghouse's owner operated the facility in a negligent manner. The suit claims that Maria A. Sanchez maintained the boardinghouse in violation of city and county safety codes, which require smoke detectors and other safety devices.

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