Firefighters at the site of the Da Vinci apartment construction fire, Dec. 8, 2014. Photo via OnScene.tv.
Firefighters at the site of the Da Vinci apartment construction fire, Dec. 8, 2014. Photo via OnScene.tv.

The city of Los Angeles filed a $20 million negligence lawsuit against the developer of the Da Vinci Apartments complex, much of which burned to the ground in a massive arson fire in December 2014, the City Attorney’s Office announced Thursday.

The lawsuit claims the developer of the complex at 900 W. Temple St. failed to have an adequate fire protection plan, failed to install fire walls or doors and failed to have appropriate water supplies on hand for fire suppression or security measures in place to prevent people from getting onto the property.

“We’re fighting to fully compensate the city’s taxpayers for losses we allege could have been avoided had this massive building incorporated key safety measures and been better constructed,” City Attorney Mike Feuer said.

The lawsuit names developer Geoffrey H. Palmer and his company, GH Palmer Associates. Officials with the company could not be immediately reached for comment.

The overnight fire on Dec. 8, 2014, caused $20 million to $30 million in damage to the 1.3 million-square-foot complex, which was largely in the framing stage, according to the fire department.

At least two-thirds of the structure collapsed during the fire, which also damaged two nearby office towers owned by the city. Mayor Eric Garcetti said the fire caused about $50 million to $60 million in damage to city property.

Investigators announced 10 days after the fire that it was the result of arson, saying they had “recovered sufficient evidence to eliminate all known potential accidental causes and determine the fire was intentionally set.”

Dawud Abdulwali, 56, was arrested in May of last year on suspicion of setting off the blaze. He is awaiting trial on one felony count each of arson of a structure and aggravated arson.

He is due back in court in March.

— Wire reports 

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