05 March 2008

More lawsuits pile up on Lorraine owners Raso and Gattineri as they rebuild in the wake of the tragic December fire that killed Robert Taylor.

The Raso and Gattineri families do intend to rebuild the Lorraine building at 80 Middle Street, according to Rich Gaines' story today in the Gloucester Times. "Dan Dilullo, an architect for Gattineri and Raso, appeared before the Historic District Commission on Feb. 26 to begin discussions on the replacement building. Although the Lorraine was a nonconforming use under city zoning regulations, the owners have the right to replace it on the same footprint."

Here is a December 2007 story by the Times' Kristen Geco about the previous owner of the Lorraine.
"You have an aging building," [Christopher] Shattuck said. "You have an owner who appears not to have taken much interest in the tenants. ... The ultimate disaster happened."

Shattuck said he was particularly concerned about the building's electrical system, which he said included "knob and tube" wiring dating to 1910, when the building was erected as a hospital. Knob and tube wiring consists of insulated copper wire that is protected by porcelain tubes where it passes through joists and studs and is supported by porcelain knobs.....

In fact, knob and tube wiring can render your home uninsurable.

Litigation Looms Large

Meanwhile, a spate of litigation has ensued.
In her motion to add plaintiffs, Crnilovic-Phillips noted that other groups had organized suits to be filed by at least two other law firms."Plaintiff already advised the court and defendants that there would be additional plaintiffs, and indeed there are, and they are being represented by at least two law firms in the Greater Boston area," Crnilovic-Phillips wrote.

A Motion to Attach Personal Property
The two sides face a March 20 court date on the plaintiff's motion for a legal attachment on properties owned by Raso and Gattineri, including the small fenced-off pile of rubble at the corner of Middle and School streets where the apartment building stood from 1901 to Dec. 14.

Related post: Robert Taylor's Law.
Related issue: Should balloon construction buildings come with a consumer warning label?

Photo of Gary Raso and Mark Gattineri courtesy of Mary Muckenhoupt


Christopher King said...

This is interesting:

"For one of the first times ever, the State Fire Marshal's Office closed its investigation without determining where and how the fire began."

Richard Gaines can be reached at rgaines@gloucestertimes.com

Christopher King said...

Here's a bit more about knob and tube wiring.

Is knob and tube safe?

There are three main problems with knob and tube wiring:

1. It is ungrounded, which provides a greater chance of electrocution or shock to you or your equipment

2. It is very old wiring that has, in many cases very deteriorated insulation, which can lead to a fire

3. The original receptacles and switches are not CSA approved and in many cases, the contacts are very lose, leading to poor connections and potentially fire......

Oh, Yah, the old knob and tube magic trick:

First you see your house.... then you don't.