$6 Million Settlement in Chicago Fire that Killed Six Children

November 15, 2007

The families of six children who died in a 2006 apartment fire on the city’s far North Side reached a $6 million settlement with the owners and managers of the building, attorneys said Tuesday.

A lawsuit filed last year by the victims’ parents alleged the building’s owners and managers failed to keep the building in a safe condition.

A candle used for light in an apartment without electricity caused the September 2006 fire, according to the lawsuit. Officials have said the apartment did not have a working smoke detector.

The settlement included $5 million for Augusta and Amado Ramirez, who lost five children in the fire. They were Vanessa Ramirez, 14; Eric Ramirez, 12; Suzette Ramirez, 10; Idaly Ramirez, 6; and Kevin Ramirez, 3.

Maria Ramos, whose 3-year-old daughter Escarlet Ramos also died, will receive $1 million in the settlement approved Tuesday by Cook County Circuit Judge Elizabeth Budzinski.

“It’s been hard,” 19-year-old Yadira Ramirez, whose five siblings died, said at a news conference. “Everything is really hard … Every time we see a family, we remember everything.”

There was a smoke detector in the hallway outside of the three-bedroom, third-floor apartment, but it did not work and the manufacturer had recalled it in 1992, according to the lawsuit.

The family’s electricity was off because they could not pay mounting bills, the families’ attorney, John Perconti, said in a statement.

“This settlement will never compensate these families for the heartbreaking deaths,” Perconti said. “The money will help the families provide for college education and for any future medical expenses.”

The lawsuit named as defendants Marshway Limited Partnership, Marshway LLC and CIG Management LLC. The settlement did not include an admission of liability.

An attorney representing the corporations did not immediately return a telephone message from The Associated Press.

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