PHILADELPHIA – A pair of New York plaintiffs believe a local fire security company was negligent in its duty to install a working fire suppression system in their business, which later burned down.

Xiao Chen Chen and Huo Jin Li of New York, N.Y. filed suit on Feb. 6 in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas, against East Coast Business Fire, Inc. of Philadelphia.

The plaintiffs purchased property at 2500 North 5th Street in Philadelphia for their restaurant, Number 1 Kitchen and then contracted with the defendant for installation, service and maintenance of a fire suppression system. Per the contract, the installation cost $1,540.00 and the service and maintenance cost an annual fee of $100.00, for maintenance twice per year.

“The fire suppression system consisted of an automatic multi-sprinkler system located above all of the cooking equipment, including, but not limited to, deep fryer, grill, ovens, stove, and microwaves, within plaintiffs’ restaurant. Additionally, defendant installed and maintained smoke detectors and fire extinguishers within plaintiffs’ restaurant. Defendant accepted annual payments from plaintiffs every year for the service and maintenance of the fire suppression system,” the plaintiffs’ complaint reads.

On Jan. 4, 2016, a fire occurred in the restaurant originating above the deep fryer and grill, and according to the complaint, the Philadelphia Fire Department determined after an investigation that the fire suppression system failed to operate due not being properly installed or maintained. As a result, the entire restaurant and all merchandise in it was destroyed.

“As a result of the Jan. 4, 2016 fire and subsequent failure of the fire suppression system to operate, plaintiffs were forced to close their restaurant. Solely and directly as a result of defendant’s negligence and breach of contract, plaintiffs have lost tens of thousands of dollars in income as well as the value of the plaintiffs’ equipment and inventory within plaintiffs’ restaurant. All of plaintiffs’ losses are due to the negligence and breach of contract of defendant without any negligence, want of due care, or contribution on plaintiffs’ part contributing thereto,” the suit continues.

For counts of breach of contract, negligence, unjust enrichment and negligent misrepresentation, the plaintiffs are seeking damages in excess of $50,000, including “compensatory, consequential, and other damages, as well as the damages provided pursuant to the common law, and such further relief as the Court may direct.”

The plaintiffs are represented by Austin R. Freundlich, Gregory C. Littman and Jonathan D. Rosenau of Freundlich & Littman, in Philadelphia.

Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas case 170200017

From the Pennsylvania Record: Reach Courts Reporter Nicholas Malfitano at

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