Company Sues Culkin Over Deadly Blaze

ByABC News
January 2, 2001, 2:21 PM

Jan. 2 -- An insurance company is suing actor Macaulay Culkin and his parents, among other parties, for compensation of damages it paid to victims of a deadly 1998 holiday fire in the familys New York City residence.

Four people were killed in the Dec. 23, 1998, blaze, and several others were injured. The fire was apparently started by a short circuit in a heater in the 19th-floor residence inhabited by Culkins mother, Patricia Brentrup, and his six siblings, according to investigators.

Brentrup fled the apartment after calling 911 but left the door open on the way out, according to reports by The Associated Press and The New York Times. Fire officials stated that the open door created a blowtorch effectthat caused the blaze to spread to other floors in the 51-story high-rise in the citys Upper West Side.

Travelers Property Casualty wants more than $113,000 in repayment from Brentrup; her famous son; Kit Culkin, the estranged father of the family; and the buildings owners and managers. The insurance company reportedly paid that amount to five policyholders who filed claims after they suffered losses from the fire, according to the Times report.

Culkin, now 20, did not live in the apartment at the time of the tragedy. He had moved out earlier in 1998, when he married fellow actress Rachel Miner. The two are now separated.

A rep for the actor and his family did not know about the lawsuit and refused to comment.