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Man still hospitalized from Alpine Motel fire sues

Updated June 11, 2020 - 4:00 pm

A 48-year-old man who remains hospitalized from injuries he suffered in a deadly fire at the Alpine Motel Apartments has sued the building’s owner and others.

Christian Spangler has “significant and severe” injuries, including encephalopathy, or brain swelling, anoxic brain injury caused by a lack of oxygen and extensive burns, his lawyer, Robert Murdock, said Thursday.

The Dec. 21 blaze left six people injured, trapping residents inside after they found a rear exit door barricaded. Spangler has been in a Las Vegas hospital since the fire and is expected to endure medical issues for the rest of his life, though his lawyer said he still has a “normal life expectancy.”

The Alpine, 213 N. Ninth St., has been owned by Adolfo Orozco under Las Vegas Dragon Hotel LLC since 2013.

In addition to Orozco, the suit filed Wednesday names EDS Electronics Inc., TSI Sales & Installation LLC, Stanley Security Solutions Inc. and Cooper Wheelock Inc., along with unnamed alarm companies and unnamed stove manufactures, distributors and installers, as defendants.

Las Vegas fire officials have said that the fire probably originated from a stove in a first-floor unit. Survivors told the Review-Journal that the smoke detectors in their rooms did not activate during the blaze and that the building’s rear exit door was bolted shut. A Review-Journal investigation published this week found that city officials rebuffed repeated police efforts to close the property before the fire.

Murdock said he believes Spangler is the only victim of the fire who remained hospitalized. The lawyer, who could not disclose Spangler’s condition, said he picked up the victim’s possessions from a storage facility Thursday.

Last month, District Judge Rob Bare approved a plan to allow former residents to collect salvageable personal items.

Separate lawsuits have been filed on behalf of some of those who died.

Spangler’s lawsuit came a month after dozens of other surviving residents of the apartments also filed suit against Orozco and the companies that installed smoke and fire alarm systems.

Neither a lawyer for Orozco nor representatives for the other companies named in the complaint could immediately be reached for comment.

Contact David Ferrara at dferrara@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-1039. Follow @randompoker on Twitter.

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