Parents of Portland, Maine, Apartment Fire Victim Sue Landlord

Ashley Thomas was one of six people who died in a Portland, Maine, blaze

Two lawsuits have now been filed against the landlord of the Portland, Maine, property where six people died in a fire back in November.

Ashley Thomas's parents are the latest to sue landlord Gregory Nisbett for negligence.

"Ashley was a caring compassionate loving, young woman," Nikki Thomas, Ashley's mother, said.

They say they are grief stricken at the loss of their daughter, whom they called "princess," and angry at the man they believe might have prevented the tragedy from occuring.

"I would like to ask him if he would rent one of his apartments to his own children?" Louie Thomas, Ashley's father, said.

The Thomases have filed a civil suit against Nisbett claiming negligence in Cumberland County Superior Court and are seeking $2 million in damages.

"It's not about the dollar value here, said Nikki Thomas. "He took my daughter in the prime of her life."

The Thomases are also frustrated that the city of Portland isn't moving faster to make changes that could prevent other tenants from dying in fires that could be prevented.

"If nothing else comes from this, maybe the city will take better care of its building and find more code inspectors," Nikki Thomas said.

In the wake of the Noyes Street fire, the city has establish a new task force that is trying to do just that.

"They're definitely looking at more inspectors and a registry, so landlords have to register units with us," said Jessica Grondin, Portland Communications Director.

Grondin says the task force is likely to recommend the need for two to three additional inspectors who will have more authority to go after negligent landlords.

"I think they'll be looking at a ticketing system when on the spot the city can issue tickets to make enforcement happen sooner," Grondin said.

Neither Nisbett or his lawyer will comment on the lawsuit suits except to express condolences to the six families, and more than two months after the fire, the burned out building remains vacant on the corner.

The fire marshal's office continues to investigate the cause.

Lawyers for the families have asked the city not to demolish the house in case they need it for evidence, so the neighborhood is left with an eerie memorial to six people all in their 20s whose lives ended much too soon.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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