By Angela Greenwood

STOCKTON (CBS13) — A lawsuit will soon be filed against the Stockton pallet company that burst into flames, destroying five homes. Wednesday, the five families displaced by that fire were joined by their attorneys, who say it’s clear the company and it’s owners were negligent. They attorney’s also said they’re taking a close look at PG&E.

The ashes have settled, and families are slowing picking up the pieces.

One fire victim describes everyday as a question mark, but the now homeless residents say they know one thing for sure- the fire that destroyed their homes could have been prevented. Now, they’re suing.

Stockton Attorney Armando Villapudha is representing the fire victims and said, “Because someone was negligent and someone was probably grossly negligent.”

During a press conference Wednesday, attorney’s Armando Villapudha and Alan Sawyer announced a lawsuit is on the way, for sure against the pallet company- Hugo Pallets, Inc.- and the property owners, and perhaps against PG&E. Sawyer says a gas leak was reported at one of the homes that caught fire just days before the incident.

“We’re asking PG&E to be transparent. We know they’ve had issues with gas lines before,” said Sawyer.

So far, the attorney’s have uncovered four code violations against the pallet property. They also plan to get the San Joaquin District Attorney involved, and say some of the victims suffer from medical issues like lung problems and physical burns.

“We’re talking about a neighborhood that’s not in the most affluent neighborhood,” said Villapudha, “and some of these folks, they’re displaced and they don’t have the wherewith all to just pick up and go buy another house or rent another house. It’s tough.”

Meanwhile, support is pouring in. On top of a lot full of donations, Stockton City Councilwoman Christina Fugazi held a spaghetti dinner Wednesday night, cooked by about 20 firefighters, to raise much needed funds. Stockton’s Lion’s Club helped, too.

Stockton Lion’s Club President Roy Morales said, “Stockton is a very resilient city and we’re coming together to help these families get back n their feet.”

Fire victim Mickey Swan said, “We appreciate that support. We appreciate that spaghetti because we can’t make spaghetti right now.”

The attorneys couldn’t say yet if they plan to include the city in the lawsuit. CBS13 has learned Hugo Pallets was cited by the city of Stockton in May for improper storage of pallets and for discarding nails in the street.


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