Girl killed by tree branch: Parents sue Federal Way apartments

Samara Iereneo was playing in the backyard of a friend's Federal Way apartment on Aug. 29, 2015, when a tree branch snapped in the wind and fell on top of her, killing the 10-year-old from Burien.

Witness Selina Rivero told KIRO 7 shortly after the incident, "I was talking to my friend and the tree must have hit her head and she started bleeding, and then she just died."

Now, three years after losing their daughter, the girl's parents -- Sonny and Florence Iereneo -- have filed a wrongful death lawsuit claiming the Trellis Apartments "had a duty to protect" apartment "tenants and guests."

Samara was attending a friend's birthday party when the wind kicked up so suddenly parents told KIRO 7 they were seconds away from calling the kids inside.

"I said Rosa, you better call the kids in because, look at the wind!  The trees were blowing all over the place, and she called the kids in and they came running and said 'Mommy, the girl, she's hurt'" Bonnie Rivero told a KIRO 7 News crew in 2015.

Now -- three years later -- stumps litter the yard when Samara was killed.

Today, Dave Kirzinger, the principal of the apartment's parent company -- Rise Properties -- emailed a statement claiming investigators determined both Samara's death and the death of a 36-year old father, killed by a tree in Gig Harbor the same day,  were both "freak accidents caused by the storm."

Kirzinger expressed continued "heartfelt condolences to Samara's family."

The wrongful death complaint, filed in King County Superior Court, does not specify a dollar amount.

Samara's parents and their attorney, Dan Ikehara of Woodinville, did not respond to requests for comment Tuesday.

FULL STATEMENT FROM RISE PROPERTIES:

“We, like other members of the community, remember with sadness the wind storm in August 2015 that resulted in two deaths in the region, including that of 10-year-old Samara Iereneo. Following the tragedies, investigators determined both deaths were freak accidents caused by the storm. Again, we would like to express our continued heartfelt condolences to Samara’s family.”  Dave Kirzinger, Principal, Rise Properties

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