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Father of N.S. student who died in Cape Breton house fire sues landlords, tenants

Nova Scotia's provincial flag flies on a flag pole in Ottawa, Friday July 3, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld Nova Scotia's provincial flag flies on a flag pole in Ottawa, Friday July 3, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
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SYDNEY, N.S. -

The father of a 34-year-old Cape Breton University student who died in a house fire is suing his son's landlords and two others who lived in the home.

A statement of claim at the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia says Rajesh Gollapudi died on Dec. 17, 2022, of injuries he sustained in a fire that consumed his residence in Sydney, N.S.

Gollapudi's father, Seshagiri Rao Gollapudi, who resides in India, says in a Feb. 9 amendment to the claim that his son was unable to escape the home on Park Street during the blaze.

The suit names the owners and landlords of the residence -- Ontario-based Hanover Storage Inc. and a numbered Nova Scotia company -- as defendants, and alleges they failed to provide Gollapudi with adequate fire safety equipment and emergency procedures.

It also names as defendants two fellow tenants, Sai Kiram Vadaddi and Ajay Chowdary, alleging they failed to extinguish smoking materials properly and failed to detect and extinguish a minor fire.

Court documents show the landlords have already been charged with several fire safety infractions, and they are scheduled to enter a plea in March in provincial court.

The allegations in the lawsuit have not been tested in court. A spokesperson for Hanover Storage Inc. declined to comment, and the other defendants could not immediately be reached.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 28, 2024.

For more Nova Scotia news visit our dedicated provincial page.

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