Boaz man seriously injured in house fire now suing landlord

Boaz man seriously injured in house fire now suing landlord

BOAZ, AL (WAFF) - A Boaz man fighting for his life after a house fire is now suing his landlord.

The suit was filed Tuesday, just two days after the fire.

The lawsuit contends that the apartment complex had electrical problems and that the owners knew it.

Tony Rhoades and his wife, Sherry, are now suing James and Lawanda Smith over the New Year's Eve fire in which he was seriously injured. The suit claims there were electrical problems, a failure to test and maintain smoke detectors, and no safe alternate exit as Rhoades ran through the fire to get out of the burning building.

But Smith disputes the claims. He says Rhoades was hired to do work for him at the apartments and it was Rhoades who was paid to install 10 smoke detectors inside Smith's apartments just a few months ago.

Smith also says had there been electrical problems they would have been repaired that day.

Smith also believes the fire came from a Christmas tree he says should not have been in the home.

Smith calls this a sad situation but says if Rhoades had climbed out onto porch roof just below his bedroom window instead of running down a hall into a burning living room, he wouldn't have been injured.

Rhoades remains at UAB Hospital in critical condition.

Fire Chief Jeff Beck said the cause of the fire appears to be from an overloaded circuit caused by the use of too many extension cords.

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