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Defendants in San Marcos fire lawsuit deny wrongdoing

August 22, 2018

The owner and managers of a San Marcos apartment complex where five people were found dead after a catastrophic fire last month have denied any wrongdoing and are seeking to move a lawsuit filed against them to Hays County.

The response marks the first time the defendants have publicly addressed claims of gross negligence raised by the lawsuit, which was filed by the father of James Phillip Miranda, 23, one of the victims who perished July 20 at Iconic Village Apartments.

Attorneys for owner San Marcos Green Investors LLC, property management company Elevate Multifamily LLC and apartment managers Deborah Jones and Thomas Steubing Jr. are denying all of the allegations raised against them. In court papers, they also said the incident was caused by acts or omissions of others over whom they have no control or legal responsibility.

Those attorneys also filed a motion seeking to move the lawsuit from Travis County, where it was filed, to Hays County, where the fire occurred. They argued that Jones and Steubing are not proper defendants in the case.

Investigators haven’t yet determined how the fatal fire started and are still waiting on test results, which may not be complete until October.

Miranda’s father filed the lawsuit last month, accusing the defendants of safety lapses at the apartments. Five people who survived the fire have joined him in the case.

Others found dead after the fire were Dru Estes, 20, of San Antonio; Haley Michele Frizzell, 19, of San Angelo; David Angel Ortiz, 21, of Pasadena; and Belinda Moats, 21, of Big Wells. Autopsy results showing how they died are still pending.

Peggy O’Hare is a staff writer in the San Antonio and Bexar County area. Read her on our free site, mySA.com, and on our subscriber site, ExpressNews.com. | pohare@express-news.net | Twitter: @Peggy_OHare

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