Oct. 07--Twelve men who survived a million-dollar fire that consumed two buildings in Marysville are suing the owners of the property where the blaze began.
The men were living in the Travelers Inn in September 2011 when the fire broke out in the nearby Knockouts Bar and Grill in the 200 block of C Street.
"It started in Knockouts, evidently by virtue of some kind of negligent act," attorney Dennis Hill, who represents the men, said Friday. "There was some kind of a cause to the fire. I don't think it erupted all of a sudden on its own. The investigation is ongoing."
The suit alleged "the fire spread so rapidly, indicating that flammable substances were involved, and the fire originated at the bar."
Filed last month in Yuba County Superior Court, the suit seeks unspecified damages from Tony Behari, who owned Knockouts, and Gigi Salas, who owned the property.
"The Fire Department responded within minutes, but by the time firefighters got there, the fire had spread to the adjacent building, where plaintiffs resided," the suit said. "Plaintiffs were able to leave the building, with help from firefighters, saving their lives."
Some of the plaintiffs "suffered from significant smoke inhalation," the suit said. "Plaintiff Donald Clinton had to be rescued from a third-story window by a ladder and suffered from smoke inhalation."
Another plaintiff, Sam Alfrey, "had and has a medical condition making him susceptible to injuries from smoke inhalation," the suit said.
Behari was sued twice in federal court in Sacramento for showing televised boxing matches which he did not have licenses to air. He never responded to the suits.
Behari, a Fiji-born businessman from the Bay Area, who also spent some time playing professional poker, opened Knockouts in February 2011 in the location previously occupied by Martini's 227, which closed two years earlier.
Salas ran the place from 1990-96 as Gigi's. Other businesses in that space included Butterfly's International House and Earthwoods.
CONTACT Harold Kruger at 749-4774.
Copyright 2013 - Appeal-Democrat, Marysville, Calif.