The Lakewood apartment complex of a woman who died in a 2009 fire weeks after her wedding has settled a wrongful-death claim with her estate for $2 million, the attorney for the estate said Thursday.
Aida Vilog, 63, died Dec. 22, 2009, in her second-floor apartment during a blaze that started in the unit below hers at the Village Apartments, 4210 110th St. S.W.
Under terms of the settlement, the owners of the apartment were not named. Pierce County property records show the building is owned by John and Miles Drake. John Drake declined Thursday to comment on the settlement.
Vilog’s death could have been prevented if the building had had an automatic fire alarm system, which would have alerted all residents and the fire station three blocks away, said attorney Mike McKasy, who represents Vilog’s estate.
The systems are required by the 2006 International Fire Code, which applies to complexes with more than 16 units or more than three stories, McKasy said. The complex where Vilog lived qualified, he said.
Vilog had immigrated to the United States from the Philippines to marry her long-term sweetheart two weeks before her death. She is survived by her 75-year-old husband, Eduardo Vilog, the executor of her estate.
Eduardo Vilog was out of town Thursday, McKasy said.
Aida Vilog’s downstairs neighbor, Lisa Ann Horton, was sentenced to a year and a half in prison after pleading guilty to charges of second-degree manslaughter and first-degree arson in connection with the blaze.
Horton told investigators the fire started when she tried to light a cigarette using a stove burner and the appliance exploded, court documents state. Horton, who told officials she’d had three glasses of vodka before the fire, left the apartment without closing the door and did not report the blaze.
Fire investigators said the open door and the fact that 911 wasn’t called quickly contributed to the spread of the flames. Investigators believe the fire burned for nearly 45 minutes before it was reported.
Horton was sentenced in 2010 and was released in December, according to the state Department of Corrections.
McKasy said apartment complexes in SeaTac upgraded to the automated alarm system after a similar fire in 2009. To escape the fire, two people jumped from a third-story apartment; two others died inside.
McKasy hopes the Lakewood case will bring more awareness of the automatic systems in Pierce County.
“There’s been a huge effort (in SeaTac) to upgrade apartment complexes to have these alarm systems,” he said. “I don’t think (most tenants) are fully aware of it, or fire marshals aren’t really pushing it to the extent that they should be.”