Newport Beach Housing Company Sued for Negligence in Deadly Redwood City Fire

A Newport Beach affordable housing company (oxymoron?) is being sued for negligence by a couple who were among 100 people evacuated from a Redwood City apartment complex where a fire earlier this month killed a 48-year-old man.

KDF Hallmark allegedly failed “to properly inspect, maintain and safeguard the property from a foreseeable unit fire,” according to the complaint filed in San Mateo Superior Court by Jorge and Juanita Chavez, who lived on the second floor of the 72-unit Hallmark House Apartments in Redwood City.

Based on Dove Street in Newport Beach, KDF Communities LLP includes KDF Hallmark in its fold. KDF has been involved in the construction, acquisition and rehabilitation of more than 5,300 affordable rental units in 44 properties throughout California, according to the company's website.

Ara Jabagchourian, the Chavez family attorney, reportedly tells The Daily Journal the six-alarm blaze earlier this month revealed that Hallmark House had a lack of sprinklers, smoke detectors and other safeguards to prevent or minimize fire.

In this instance, the fire started in a single unit and should not have spread beyond that, let alone engulf the main apartment complex, Jabagchourian maintained.

There has been a mad scramble to find housing for the mostly lower to no-income residents deplaced by the fire in Redwood City, where police do report KDF has provided its residents deposits and refunds on their July rents.

Email: mc****@oc******.com. Twitter: @MatthewTCoker. Follow OC Weekly on Twitter @ocweekly or on Facebook!

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