Family of Berrien County motel fire victims files civil lawsuit

NOW: Family of Berrien County motel fire victims files civil lawsuit

BERRIEN COUNTY, Mich – The Curtis family who lost six people in the July 2018 Cosmo Extended Stay Inn fire filed a civil lawsuit.

The civil lawsuit comes after the Berrien County Prosecutors office’s press release detailed why criminal charges weren’t filed.

The 2018 motel fire killed Kiarre Curtis and five of her children.

Investigators said the fire started in room 135 of the motel caused by “careless use of a hot plate.”

“The family was surprised and disappointed by the press release sent out by Berrien County, it does not comport with the facts that we know exists,” Curtis family attorney Jonathan Jilek said. 

According to the Berrien County Prosecutor’s office no evidence was found to suggest someone intentionally started the fire.  

The report states that working or non-working smoke alarms did not contribute to the deaths. 

“We are proceeding a civil action it has been filed in Berrien County and we are going to aggressively seek justice for the family,” Jilek said. 

Jilek said race and class played a role in the prosecutor’s decision.

“If six people from St. Joseph in Berrien County, six white people and six children had been with these same circumstances would this have been the same result,” Jilek said. 

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