Fire Victim's Family Sueing Tennessee Fire Department For Negligence

The family of a victim in a deadly nursing home fire is calling the Metro Fire Department "negligent." The accusation came in a lawsuit just filed against Metro government.

The lawsuit alleges that serious mistakes made by Metro Fire while battling the NHC nursing home blaze in Nashville that killed 14 people last September. Firemen saved Thomas Ragsdale from the burning building that night, but he died two weeks later. In a lawsuit, his family says the Metro "Fire Department was negligent" and because of it "Mr. Ragsdale suffered severe personal injuries which culminated in his death."

Among the allegations: "When firefighters first entered the building, they failed to have on protective gear." Getting properly outfitted caused a "delay" that "allowed the fire to grow" and "smoke spread." The suit continues saying, "firefighters failed to remove Mr. Ragsdale from the smoke-filled east corridor for approximately 2 hours from the first time the fire alarm was sounded."

Metro government takes a much different view of how the fire department responded.

"It's our position our fire dept responded heroically," said Metro legal director Karl Dean.

Metro officials say that the allegations will be challenged.

Dean said, "Because we firmly believe this, the fire department is held in high esteem in this community and we have a justifiable pride in them...and we will defend this action."

The family is asking for $250,000 - the maximum allowed by law when suing Metro government. They are also seeking up to $20 million from the owners of the nursing home.

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