A Los Angeles fire captain has sued the owners of one building and the owners of two vaping shops after a May 2020 explosion left him with “catastrophic” injuries.
Victor Aguirre and his wife, Claudia, filed their lawsuit on Wednesday against building owner Steve Sungho Lee and his other companies as well as the owners of Green Buddha and Smoke Tokes, two smoke shops housed inside where the explosion happened. Aguirre accuses the owners of “hazardous activity, premise liability and negligence,” according to the Los Angeles Times.
The explosion hurt 12 firefighters and left Aguirre permanently injured. According to the lawsuit, he was hospitalized for two months and had to have all of his fingers partially amputated, the LA Times reported.
The property and store owners were charged with over 300 criminal counts after a criminal investigation by the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Los Angeles Police Department.
The owners of the smoke shops reportedly agreed to stop operating their businesses and to pay the city of Los Angeles more than $100,000 as a result of plea deals they struck in November.
A report from the Los Angeles Fire Department found that the fire was fueled by too many nitrous oxide and butane containers in the smoke shops. The department had not inspected the building in at least a year at the time of the incident. The Times said that fire chief Ralph Terrazas noted that an inspection likely would have resulted in the removal of some of the materials that contributed to the fire.