Teachers and business owner who died of carbon monoxide poisoning at Mexico City Airbnb brought light to those around them, families say
When she stepped outside on a rainy morning, Kástina Díaz, 54, heard a noise. She looked up at the sky, and saw red and orange flames like a firecracker. Then she heard another noise.
“The house burned down,” she remembered. “She was unconscious, and then she was burning. And it happened three or four times.”
It was 5:30 a.m. on Aug. 4, 2016, when her landlord, Adrián Romero, 44, came home from a night shift at the hospital, where he worked as an anesthesiologist. He put a blanket on her to stay warm, and left for work.
Just then, his home caught fire.
He put her in the master bedroom. She was a good Samaritan, who had offered to babysit after she got off work. He left the bedroom door open in case she needed help.
Then flames engulfed their home. At least three fires erupted while Adrián Romero slept. The fire department said it had to enter the house repeatedly in an attempt to control the blaze and save the lives of the four residents.
The smoke caused the building to collapse around the time his landlord called him to say that he was dead. It was later found that he had fallen unconscious, and died from carbon monoxide poisoning, according to official statements.
“This was not a tragedy, but a crime,” said Yolanda Ponce, a spokesperson for the Mexico City Civil Protection Secretariat, in an email.
Díaz, Romero’s wife, is among the first of the six residents who have filed a lawsuit against the property management firm that owns the property where the deaths occurred. They claim the company should have known about the dangerous living conditions at the building.
The residents — Romero, Díaz and two women, Terese Ochoa-Soriano and her sister, María Angeles Lopez-Núñez — are suing Pancha, a local firm which owns three apartments adjacent to the property. Pancha, which employs two people at the property, said the case was frivolous.
The lawsuit claims that Pancha knew about