Family of firefighter Scott Desmond receives settlement in wrongful death suit.
MARTINEZ -- The family of a Contra Costa Fire District engineer who was
one of four killed in a 2007 San Pablo house fire will be paid a $4.6
million civil settlement by two private alarm companies, attorneys in
the wrongful-death lawsuit said Tuesday.
The settlement, approved Friday by a Contra Costa County judge, is the
latest related to what's called the county's worst firefighting tragedy.
"Scott Desmond was a hero and he died doing his job, attempting to
save lives, so I'm not happy with the resolution only because you
can never be happy in situations like this," said Andrew Schwartz,
attorney for Desmond's widow, Carolyn, and son, Tyler. "It's
a fair settlement under the circumstances."
Desmond, 37, of Brentwood; Capt. Matt Burton, 34, of Concord; and husband-and-wife
pair Delbert, 67, and Gayle Moore, 64, died in the July 21, 2007, fire
at the Moore home on Michele Drive in unincorporated San Pablo.
The Moore and Desmond families filed separate lawsuits against alarm dealer
Pinnacle Security and alarm monitoring company Security Associates International
that argued the tragedy could have been adverted had the blaze been properly
There was about a 10-minute delay between the time Gayle Moore notified
a Pinnacle employee through an intercom that there was an active fire
in the house and the time the first fire crew was dispatched. A Pinnacle
representative called the fire district's nonemergency dispatch line
and said there was a fire alarm report, rather than relaying that the
homeowner told them the fire was burning. The wrong terminology and incorrect
phone line sent the call plummeting down the fire district's priority list.
The Moore family recently reached a settlement with the companies as well,
said Brad Zamczyk, the attorney for Security Associates. The amount to
be paid to the Moore family is undisclosed, subject to a confidentiality
agreement, because that lawsuit did not involve a public entity, Zamczyk said.
Burton's family did not file a lawsuit, but did file a claim that was
paid by Contra Costa County. The county later reached a settlement with
alarm companies for reimbursement. County counsel could not provide the
The attorney for Pinnacle Security could not be reached for comment.