Courtesy of The Associated Press
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — The widow of a firefighter who died in an arson fire at a Family Dollar store has filed a $6.5 million wrongful death lawsuit against the store, the Memphis Fire Department and the maker of a self-contained breathing apparatus. Lt. Trent Kirk and Pvt. Charles Zachary, both 39, were killed June 15, 2003, after rushing into the burning store where a civilian was wrongly believed to be trapped inside. Kirk died at the scene from extensive burns, while Zachary died from smoke inhalation the next day. Anthony Paul Shaw, a manager of the store, is charged with setting the blaze. He is awaiting trial on federal arson charges in which a public safety officer died. If convicted, he will face life in prison or death. In the lawsuit filed in Circuit Court, Donna Kirk said her husband’s death resulted in part from the store’s inadequate staffing and inaccurate floor plan; an ineffective radio communication system and rescue plan by the fire department; and an inaccurate 30-minute rating on a German-manufactured air tank. According to the suit, the Dragerwerk company should have cautioned that the tank would provide air for about 10 minutes for a firefighter of Kirk’s size, 6-foot-2 and 275 pounds. Authorities say the fire was set by Shaw to cover up the theft of money from the store’s safe.