Castle Ridge fire in Aspen sparks lawsuit
ASPEN – The 2008 fire that gutted an Aspen apartment building has led to a lawsuit in Pitkin County District Court, but just one of the three defendants has been served with the complaint.
State Farm Fire and Casualty Co. sued Mitchell Rubin, Mark Janian and Brian Mooney in May, claiming that the trio started the fire by “improperly disposing of a lit cigarette” in a unit at Castle Ridge Apartments on June 11, 2008.
State Farm claims that the three defendants’ negligence caused the fire. The insurance firm said it has paid the property damage claim filed by the building’s owner – Castle Ridge Associates Ltd. The suits seeks that the three defendants reimburse State Farm.
Janian was served with the complaint earlier this month in Breckenridge. Without an attorney, he filed a two-page response to the lawsuit, denying allegations that his negligence caused the fire. He declined to comment when contacted Monday.
The other two defendants have yet to be served, and don’t appear to live in Aspen anymore, though each has an Aspen post office box, according to the lawsuit, which was filed by Englewood, Colo., attorneys Alan Greenberg and Caroline Sada. Both lawyers were unavailable for comment Monday.
The fire destroyed the 10-unit apartment building, which housed local workers and was located on Doolittle Drive, near Aspen Valley Hospital. Seventeen residents were displaced because of the blaze, and one cat died of asphyxiation. No one was injured.
The Aspen fire marshal determined that the blaze originated on the balcony of unit 107, after a cigarette was left in potting soil. The cigarette apparently smoldered and sparked a fast moving fire. The unit’s occupants weren’t home when the fire broke out at approximately 11:30 p.m.
The building – No. 100B – was replaced in the fall and has 10 units.
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Pitkin County administrators are proposing a more than $142 million budget for 2020, which is about $6 million less than this year because of fewer construction projects and capital improvements.