Mother of toddler killed in apartment fire files $25 million lawsuit against complex

By Keith Garvin - Anchor/Reporter

HOUSTON - Attorneys for the mother of a toddler killed in an apartment complex fire last week say they are seeking answers in the form of a multimillion dollar lawsuit.

Gisselle Gomez, 2, died last week after a fire started in her home at The Lodge Apartments in southwest Houston.

Her mother -- Betzahida Vivero -- is still too distraught to talk about Gisselle's death. But one of her attorneys is speaking after filing a $25 million dollar lawsuit on her behalf.

"It's like a huge hole has been ripped into her heart," says attorney Tony Buzbee. "She is dealing with that the best that she can. All the while, she still has to be a mother to her 5-year-old."

The lawsuit alleges the apartment owner -- Houston-based Jaw Equity Management -- was negligent in Gisselle's death.

The girl's room had no working smoke detector, the one smoke detector in the apartment wasn't working and neither was the lone fire extinguisher at the complex.

"We want to know how it can be that an apartment complex in our city does not have fire extinguishers that work," says Buzbee. "Does not have some sort of fire alarm or detection systems that works."

The lawsuit is seeking $25 million in damages but Vivero's attorneys say the goal is about more than money.

"If this lawsuit leads to an apartment complex owner or the city doing a little bit better and it saves a life," says Buzbee. "Then it was worth it."

Channel 2 did reach out to the apartment building's manager but has not heard back.

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