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

Paramedics Andrew Mills, left, and Rick Harwood are up from Victoria to help out local ambulance crews. (Photo courtesy BC Emergency Health Services)
Extra paramedics sent to Terrace

Area is experiencing high number of COVID cases

Security has been stepped up at both Mills Memorial Hospital in Terrace, pictured here, and at Kitimat General Hospital in Kitimat. (File photo)
Stillbirth reaction leads to more hospital security

Staff, physicians facing threats and harassment

The Majagaleehl Gali Aks Elementary School in Hazelton is being shut down for a week by the Gitanmaax Band Council following a confirmation of a COVID-19 exposure there on Feb. 26. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Hazelton school COVID-19 closure extended one week

With spring break on horizon, Majagaleehl Gali Aks Elementary will be closed to end of March

There were 31 new COVID-19 cases in the Terrace local health area during the week of Feb. 21 to Feb. 27, 2021. (BC Centre for Disease Control)
Northwest B.C. remains a COVID-19 hot spot

There were 31 new cases reported in the Terrace local health area between Feb. 21 and Feb. 27

Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs president and Grand Chief Stweart Phillip speaking at a rally with chiefs from around B.C. outside of the Coastal GasLink pipeline route in 2019. The UBCIC said in an open letter to Terrace city council that it was “heartbroken” to hear about the situation. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs ‘heartbroken’ by McCallum-Miller resignation

Terrace’s first Indigenous councillor resigned Feb. 22, alleging systemic racism

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’

Malawian police guard AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines after the shipment arrived in Lilongwe, Malawi, Friday March 5, 2021. Canada is expecting its first shipments of AstraZeneca vaccine next week. (Associated Press/Thoko Chikondi)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 cases climb to 634 Friday, four more deaths

Currently 255 people in hospital, 66 in intensive care

A crashed helicopter is seen near Mt. Gardner on Bowen Island on Friday March 5, 2021. Two people were taken to hospital in serious but stable condition after the crash. (Irene Paulus/contributed)
2 people in serious condition after helicopter goes down on Bowen Island

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

Surrey Pretrial in Newton. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
B.C. transgender inmate to get human rights hearing after being held in mostly male jail

B.C. Human Rights Tribunal member Amber Prince on March 3 dismissed the pretrial’s application to have Makayla Sandve’s complaint dismissed

Supporters rally outside court as Pastor James Coates of GraceLife Church is in court to appeal bail conditions, after he was arrested for holding day services in violation of COVID-19 rules, in Edmonton, Alta., on Thursday March 4, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
‘Law remains valid:’ Pastor accused of violating health orders to remain in jail

The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms is representing the pastor

The Netflix logo on an iPhone. B.C. delayed imposing sales tax on digital services and sweetened carbonated beverages as part of its response to COVID-19. Those taxes take effect April 1, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Matt Rourke
B.C. applies 7% sales tax on streaming, vaping, sweet drinks April 1

Measures from 2020 budget were delayed due to COVID-19

Chief Don Tom of the Tsartlip First Nation was outraged after Green MLA Adam Olsen revealed on social media that the community had been experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak – a fact the First Nation had chosen to keep private to avoid racist backlash as experienced by the Cowichan Tribes when an outbreak was declared there in January. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. First Nation ‘outraged’ after Green MLA reveals COVID-19 outbreak

Tsartlip First Nation chief shares concerns about racist backlash, MLA apologizes

A lawyer wears a face mask and gloves to curb the spread of COVID-19 while waiting to enter B.C. Supreme Court, in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, Aug. 28, 2020. British Columbia’s highest court has sided with the land owner in a dispute over public access to public land. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. high court finds in favour of large landowner in fight over access to pair of lakes

The Nicola Valley Fish and Game Club launched legal action after the cattle company blocked road and trail access

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds a press conference in Ottawa Friday, March 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Trudeau holds firm on premiers’ health-care funding demands, COVID-19 aid comes first

Premiers argue that the current amount doesn’t keep pace with yearly cost increases of about five per cent

Most Read