Tragedy in the making

Tragedy in the making

Children of alleged arson victim file claims against the city

By André Coleman 05/23/2013

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The children of one of two men killed in a November fire have filed separate claims for damages against the city of Pasadena for not closing the allegedly illegal boarding house where the men lived.

According to police, Paul Richard Boyd, 75, and Cliff Juan Clark, 56, died Nov. 1 after the house they were living in at 1385 El Sereno Ave. was allegedly set ablaze by 49-year-old Garth Allen Robbins, a resident of the home.

Robbins has pleaded not guilty to two counts of capital murder, 15 counts of attempted murder and two counts of arson. He is due back in court on June 9.

The blaze started at approximately 2:30 a.m. Nov. 1. After it was extinguished, authorities discovered the bodies of Clark and Boyd. Injured was tenant Perry Simons.

Police later learned that up to 20 people had been renting small rooms at the property, despite the fact its owner, Jeanette Broussard, did not have the required permit to operate a boarding house.

As the probe into the fire progressed, investigators reportedly found evidence that the fire began in Robbins’ room.

The claims, which ask for more than $25,000 in damages, were filed on April 29 by Clark’s children, Cliff Juan Clark Jr. of Victorville and LaTiesha Renay Clark of Los Angeles. They claim city officials knew the operation was illegal but failed to act.

“The premises [were] occupied by at least 10+ people,” state the claims, usually the first legal step in suing a government agency.
“The city of Pasadena knew about the living conditions and knew that the owner did not have the proper permits, but the city failed to close down the premises,” state the documents filed with the City Clerk’s Office.

According to an article in the Pasadena Sun, in 2009 another home owned by Broussard caught fire. That home, located on Del Monte Avenue, also in Northwest Pasadena, was also described as an illegal boarding house. Broussard was charged with six code violations, all misdemeanors. Those charges were dropped after she agreed to comply with city regulations

On Monday, Pasadena Public Information Officer William Boyer told the Weekly that police had received calls from the home 120 times since 1990 for such offenses as murder, public intoxication, drug use, fighting and disturbing the peace.

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