Two Families File Suit Against Pang

SEATTLE - Widows of two of the four Seattle firefighters killed in the Pang warehouse fire have filed civil lawsuits against Martin Pang, who is accused of setting the fire in January 1995.

Christina Brown, widow of firefighter James Brown, and Karen Shoemaker, widow of Lt. Gregory Shoemaker, filed the suits against the 39-year-old Pang, who has been charged with four counts of first-degree murder and one count of arson. Pang is in the King County Jail awaiting his trial, which is scheduled to begin April 7.

The suit brought by Christina Brown seeks unspecified damages for the estate of her husband, "a young firefighter who was just starting out," said Brown's attorney, Darrell Cochran.

Brown's suit also contains a claim against the business that burned, Mary Pang Food Corp., contending that part of the building was in violation of Seattle construction codes.

Sunday was the second anniversary of the deaths and was the deadline for filing lawsuits against Martin Pang, but legal action can be filed against the corporation for another year, Cochran said.

Paul Luvera, the attorney representing Karen Shoemaker, said her suit seeks compensation for her husband's loss of earnings, and the loss of his life as a husband and father. The suit also is in behalf of the Shoemakers' two daughters, Kari and Amy, Luvera said.

Pang has indicated he will not testify about the incident and will take the Fifth Amendment against self-incrimination, Luvera said.