Widow of Anaheim Man Killed in Conception Boat Fire Sues Vessel Owner

Multiple Fatalities In Boat Fire Near Santa Cruz Island

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - The widow of an Anaheim Hills man who was among those who died in a dive boat fire that killed 34 people has filed suit in federal court in Los Angeles against the vessel's owners.

Christine Dignam, whose husband, Justin Dignam, died when the Conception caught fire Sept. 2 off the Santa Barbara coast, alleges in the wrongful death suit that the ship was unsafe.

The lawsuit, filed Monday, is a counterclaim to a complaint filed preemptively by the boat owners to protect them from liability.

The complaint against Santa Barbara-based Truth Aquatics Inc. is the first from a relative of a passenger who was killed. A crew member who was injured trying to escape previously sued.

Dignam alleges that the vessel didn't have adequate smoke detectors or firefighting equipment and lacked enough emergency exits, and that a required night watch was not on duty when the flames broke out in the middle of the night.

Authorities are conducting investigations into the fire that killed all 33 passengers and one crew member sleeping below deck. The cause of the blaze has not been determined.

Photo: Getty Images

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