People look at a memorial for the victims of an apartment building fire near the site of the fire in the Bronx borough of New York, Thursday, Jan. 13, 2022. Credit: Seth Wenig / AP

A Portland-based apartment complex owner is one of three companies that is being sued over the deadly New York fire on Sunday 

The LIHC Investment Group is named in a lawsuit that alleges that the building was poorly maintained, and that safety features not properly managed in the building contributed to the high death count, according to the Portland Press Herald.

San Francisco-based Belveron Partners and The Camber Property Group, based in New York are the other owners named in the suit.

Initially, investigators identified 19 fatalities from the fire. That figure later dropped to 17 — eight of which were children — according to New York Mayor Eric Adams. Dozens of people were hospitalized, including several in critical condition, in the city’s deadliest fire in almost three decades.

The cause of the fire in the 19-story building was determined to be a malfunctioning electric space heater that had been plugged in to give extra heat on a cold morning, the Associated Press reported.

Later, investigators found that the building’s self-closing doors malfunctioned during the blaze, contributing to a higher fatality rate and posing a higher risk to those in the building as smoke poured through the complex. Those escaping the building were confined to using stairways, as the building was too tall for fire escapes, according to the Associated Press.

The lawsuit is seeking $3 million in damages and compensation to be paid to the tenants.

While the Portland-based company and Belveron own 80 percent of the building, while The Camber Property Group is a local owner that has more direct involvement in the building’s management, a spokesperson for LIHC told the Press Herald.

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Leela Stockley

Leela Stockley is an alumna of the University of Maine. She was raised in northern Maine, and loves her cat Wesley, her puppy Percy and staying active in the Maine outdoors.