Pasco woman sues casino cruise company after deadly boat fire

PASCO COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – A Holiday woman who was forced to jump from a burning shuttle boat is suing the casino that owned the vessel.

Deborah Jero was one of 50 passengers onboard the Island Lady on Jan. 14 when the 72-foot boat caught fire off the coast of Port Richey.

In a lawsuit filed against Tropical Breeze Casino Cruz, LLC on Jan. 19, Jero claimed she was left with serious physical injuries, mental anguish and trauma. The lawsuit states Jero is, “above the age of majority,” and that she and other passengers, “jumped more than 10 feet into water that was less than three feet deep,” causing her to suffer “serious physical injuries from the forced jump.”  Her exact injuries were not listed.

More than a dozen passengers were treated for injuries; include Carrie Dempsey, 42, a widowed mother of two who later died.

RELATED: Outpouring of support for twins, 12, who lost only living parent in Pasco casino shuttle boat fire

RELATED: Casino shuttle captain had drug, alcohol convictions prior to fatal boat fire in Pasco

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Jero believes the situation could have been prevented and also accused Tropical Breeze of being neglectful by not properly inspecting and maintaining the boat. The lawsuit claims that the company should have known about likely mechanical or engine issues if proper checks were being done.

According to the lawsuit, Jero is looking for, “action for damages that exceed $15,000,” but no specific amount was given.

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