A mobile home on the Aquilini-owned Red Mountain Vineyard in Washington State caught on fire in July 2017. (Benton County Sheriff’s Department)

A mobile home on the Aquilini-owned Red Mountain Vineyard in Washington State caught on fire in July 2017. (Benton County Sheriff’s Department)

Aquilini companies deny negligence in U.S. vineyard fire that killed two kids

Fire occurred at Red Mountain Vineyard, located in southeast Washington State

Several businesses owned by the Aquillini family are denying any negligence after a fire killed two children on property owned by the family’s vineyard in Washington State.

The response, filed in King County Superior Court on Oct. 16 against multiple Aquilini businesses including Luigi Aquilini, was in response to a civil suit the parents of the children filed in July. The Aquillini family owns the Vancouver Canucks and a number of B.C. development properties.

The negligent death suit stems from a July 2017 fire at the Red Mountain Vineyard, located in southeast Washington State. The suit alleges two children died of injuries from the fire as a result of the Aquillinis’ negligence.

In their response, the companies argue they are not liable because the family were “trespassers” on the property.

In the suit, parents Sergio and Erika Hernandez said they left their two kids, Alex, 10, and Patty, 7, sleeping in the home while they briefly stepped out.

Sergio returned home to see smoke and flames coming from the homes. He said he ran inside and rescued his children from the smoke and flame filled home.

The civil suit alleges Patty and Alex died in August 2017 and January 2018, respectively, after experiencing “horrific suffering and pre-death pain” in hospital.

The parents claim there were no working smoke detectors in the home, which made it so “there was no warning” to those inside that a fire was brewing.

But in the initial suit, the Hernandez family said the mobile home they lived in with their two children was provided by the vineyard.

The Hernandezes allege that the Aquilini-owned business carried out “extensive work” on the mobile home and altered the electrical system, all without any permits or safety inspections.

In the companies’ response, they state the Hernandez family’s claims “if any,” were “proximately caused by the faults of other persons” over which the companies had no control over.

Sergio, court documents said, has been unable to work since the fire after suffering burns on more than 30 per cent of his body.

The companies alleges the family’s damages are a “result of the plaintiffs’ failure to mitigate” them. The companies ask for the lawsuit to be dismissed.

The suit asks for general, special and punitive damages, as well as attorney fees, from the Aquilinis and their businesses.

Luigi Aquilini has yet to file a response.


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Cowichan-Malahat-Langford MP Alistair MacGregor. (Photo by Bernard Thibodeau)
NDP tables dental care program

Millions of Canadians don’t visit the dentist every year because they can’t afford to.

New designs for a the new weir in Lake Cowichan call for a walkway over the top of the weir, as pictured in this graphic. (Courtesy of the CVRD)
Location of new weir at Cowichan Lake determined to be suitable

Weir design supported by public, says project manager

The Richmond family, owners of the 49th Parallel grocery store chain in the mid-Island, were on hand for the opening of the company’s fifth location at Berkey’s Corner on March 2. Pictured, from left, are Peter, the company’s CEO, his mother Harmina, sister Kathy and father Wayne in front of the new store. (Robert Barron/Citizen)
Business notes: 49th Parallel opens new location at Berkey’s Corner

What’s happening in the Cowichan Valley business community

Holly the stuffed Rottweiler has been missing from the front of Lucky Dog U-Bath since Feb. 24. (Submitted photo)
Holly the stuffed Rottweiler is missing from Duncan shop

Toy dog missing from front of Lucky Dog U-Bath since Feb.24

Martha Jane McHardy displays her knitwear in one of the windows at Imagine That! in Duncan this month. (Submitted)
Arts and Entertainment column: Lots to see in Duncan in March

Funding success, painters show, folk art, tell your COVID story

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry head for the B.C. legislature press theatre to give a daily update on the COVID-19 pandemic, April 6, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. nears 300,000 COVID-19 vaccinations, essential workers next

564 new cases, four deaths, no new outbreaks Thursday

Shiromali Krishnaraj arrives from India and receives a mandatory COVID-19 test at Pearson International Airport during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Monday, Feb. 1, 2021. B.C.’s approved rapid tests also use a nasal swab, with a machine to scan for COVID-19 antibodies. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
B.C.’s rapid COVID-19 tests have produced only two positive results

Tests deployed for exposures in schools, outbreaks in care homes, jails

FILE – An air ambulance helicopter takes off from the helipad at West Coast General Hospital in Port Alberni, B.C. Although calls for an air ambulance are down in 2020, Port Alberni is one of the three highest regions for calls on Vancouver Island (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
BREAKING: Helicopter goes down on Bowen Island

Unclear how many passengers aboard and unclear where the helicopter was going

The Nanaimo bar display at the Nanaimo Museum. (City of Nanaimo Instagram)
City of Nanaimo points to correct recipe after New York Times botches batch of bars

City addresses ‘controversy’ around dessert square’s layers

A man holds a picture of Chantel Moore during a healing gathering at the B.C. Legislature in Victoria on June 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. First Nation demands transparency in probe into second fatal RCMP shooting

‘Police have killed more Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation members than COVID’

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C. on the COVID-19 situation. (B.C. government)
Dr. Bonnie Henry predicts a ‘post-pandemic world’ for B.C. this summer

‘Extending this second dose provides very high real-world protection to more people, sooner’

The B.C. Supreme Court ruled Feb. 26 that the estate of deceased Sooke man and Hells Angels prospect Michael Widner is to be divided between his wife and his secret spouse. (Black Press Media file photo)
Estate of dead B.C. Hells Angels prospect to be divided between wife, secret spouse

Michael Widner’s 2017 death left a number of unanswered questions

Comox Valley-raised Shay Sandiford has earned a spot on the Canada skateboard team. Facebook
Vancouver Islander selected to Canada’s first-ever national skateboard team

Courtenay’s Shay Sandiford has his eye on qualifying for this summer’s Olympics in Tokyo

This Dec. 2, 2020 photo provided by Johnson & Johnson shows vials of its Janssen subsidiary’s COVID-19 vaccine in the United States. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Johnson & Johnson via AP
Canada approves Johnson & Johnson’s 1-shot COVID-19 vaccine

It is the 4th vaccine approved in Canada and the 1st that requires just a single dose

Most Read