Welding spark burns family business, landlord sued

David Yates Feb. 20, 2008, 8:00am

The owners and employees of a cabinet company are suing their deceased landlord's estate, claiming a welder hired by their former landlord burned down their office and with it all their personal property.

Mable, Greg and Scottie Wilson, owners and employees of Fine Line Cabinetry, filed their suit against H.A. Alexander and Factory Outlet in the Orange County District Court on Feb. 5.

According to the plaintiffs' petition, Alexander owned a building at 18440 Highway 62 South in Orange, which he leased to Fine Line Cabinetry Inc. On the morning of Feb. 9, 2006, Alexander's employee was performing welding on steel framework attached to its rental building which contained the cabinet shop.

"Sparks from the welding machine fell on some nearby carpet padding, and started a fire," the suit said. "A fire extinguisher from the cabinet shop was used in an attempt to extinguish the fire, and the welder who was operating the welding machine … left the scene for a period of time.

"During that time, the fire rekindled, went up the wall and into the attic of the building housing the cabinet shop, and started an uncontrollable fire. By the time it was noticed, the fire was completely out of hand, and when the fire department arrived, the cabinet shop had been completely destroyed."

The Wilsons claim they lost more than $20,000 in property in the fire, and also suffered around $30,000 in lost wages as a result of the fire, the suit said.

"The Plaintiffs would show that the fire in question was proximately caused by the negligence of the (defendant)," the suit said.

"The Plaintiffs would further show that they were in nowise responsible for the fire that the destroyed the cabinet shop. The will of H. A. Alexander provides that all of his property be sold to Factory Outlet Inc., and that certain parties named therein be given shares in the corporation."

In its answer to the Wilsons' suit, Factory Outlet denied every accusation made by the plaintiffs.

The Wilsons are represented by John Smith, attorney for the Bush Lewis law firm.

Factory Outlet is represented by the Hunter Burch law firm.

The case has been assigned to the 128th Judicial District, Judge Patrick Clark.

Case No. A-080-0052-c

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