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Ax injury leads to claim against Burbank

Woman says she fell on an unattended firefighters' tool.

March 19, 2013|By Alene Tchekmedyian, alene.tchekmedyian@latimes.com

A 43-year-old Alameda woman has filed a claim against the city claiming that she injured herself when she fell on an ax that was negligently left unattended by Burbank firefighters who responded to an emergency call at a local hotel.

The woman, Michelle Russi, was a guest at the Marriott Hotel in Burbank last year when her two daughters got stuck in a hotel elevator because of a problem with a cable on top of the roof, according to the claim.

Hotel management called in the Burbank Fire Department.

Meanwhile, Russi, who didn't know her daughters were trapped in the elevator, exited another elevator on the fourth floor and noticed fire officials in the hallway. While exiting, she stepped on the ax and fell, cutting her back on the tool's blade and injuring her right shoulder, according to the claim.

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“There were no signs warning of the hazard, nor was the area closed off by a rope or barrier,” she alleges in the claim.

She also alleges that since the fall, she has experienced limited mobility of her upper limbs, as well as chest and back pain, tendinitis in her right shoulder, a tight rib cage and anxiety.

While the exact amount for damages is “presently undetermined,” Russi is seeking at least $25,000, according to the claim.

Senior Asst. City Atty. Carolyn Barnes said the city's investigation into the claim is ongoing. The city has until Saturday to decide whether to settle or deny the claim.

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Follow Alene Tchekmedyian on Google+ and on Twitter: @atchek.

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