Families of 23 fire victims settle suit

Sept. 25, 2007 at 8:19 AM
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BELLAIRE, Texas, Sept. 25 (UPI) -- Families of 23 elderly Texas residents who died in a bus fire reached a settlement in one lawsuit but another against the bus maker continues.

The families settled for an undisclosed amount of money from Sunrise Senior Living Services Inc., of McLean, Va., which runs Brighton Gardens nursing home of Bellaire, Texas, the Houston Chronicle reported Tuesday.

"This has been a heart-wrenching time for many people and we certainly share their sadness," said Sunrise spokesman Jamison Gosselin.

The 23 victims were being evacuated from Brighton Gardens before Hurricane Rita two years in a rented bus when it caught fire.

The probable cause was insufficient lubrication of a rear axle, which overheated and caused a fire in the wheel well, filling the bus with flames and smoke, said federal safety officials.

The families sued the bus maker charging the 1998 bus had design and manufacturing defects in the axle lubrication system.

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