A former Georgetown University student received $240,000 yesterday in settlement of a suit he filed against his landlords, claiming they should have installed a smoke detector in the apartment building where he was severely burned in a fire four years ago.
The former student, Eugene DiPaola, had maintained that the smoke detector should have been in place even though a new city law requiring installation of such devices had not gone into force at the time.
DiPaola, a 23-year-old, third-year English literature student at the time of the fire, claimed a smoke detector would have roused him when the 5 a.m. blaze broke out Sept. 26, 1978. He had sought $3.5 million from the landlords, Alan Price and Mary Diefenbach of Chevy Chase.
A third party in the Litigation was another former student, Hugh Winkler, who the landlords claimed was responsible for the fire. A fire department report said the blaze was ignited by sparks from a grill used the day before on the building's porch.
Winkler contributed an undisclosed amount to the settlement filed yesterday in D.C. Superior Court, according to Michael Wilsman, attorney for the landlords. Wilsman said his clients complied with every applicable fire and housing standard, but settled because they "recognized the seriousness of [DiPaola's] injuries."