Brooklyn Fire Injures16 People in Building without Smoke Alarms

Sixteen people were injured, including five who suffered critical injuries, in a fire that broke out in a Sunset Park building the night of Oct. 1. According to, among those who suffered critical injuries was a 4-year-old boy who was found on the second floor of the building in cardiac arrest. The building is on 45th Street between 5th and 6th Avenues.

No Smoke Alarm in Apartment

Firefighters quickly removed the child to the street. At the same time they also found several victims on the top floor and removed them from the building, which was on fire. Sixty firefighters responded to the scene tackling heavy flames on the second and third floors, which took 45 minutes to get under control.

Fire officials are still investigating the cause and origin of the fire. The New York Daily News reported that based on preliminary investigations, FDNY has said the blaze was accidental and electrical in nature. Fire officials have also said that the apartment where the fire broke out did not have a smoke alarm. Our thoughts and prayers are with all the injured victims of this horrific fire. We wish them all a speedy and complete recovery.

Why Smoke Detectors Are Crucial

The New York City Housing Maintenance Code requires property owners and/or property managers to provide, install and maintain smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors in each unit. Not only should these life-saving devices be present, but they should also be in good working order. The American Red Cross estimates that having a working smoke alarm in a home reduces the risk of a fire-related accident death by as much as 51%. Sprinklers and smoke alarms together reduce the risk of a home fire death by 82%.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), every year in the United States, about 2,000 people lose their lives in residential fires. In a fire, smoke and deadly gases tend to spread farther and quicker than heat. This is the reason why many fire victims suffer serious injuries or even die as a result of smoke inhalation as opposed to burns. Even as residents sleep or are engaged in other activities, smoke alarms stand guard around the clock letting out a loud alarm when it senses smoke. This allows families the potentially life-saving extra minutes to escape.

The CPSC states that about two-thirds of home fire deaths occur in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms. Properly installed and maintained smoke alarms are considered to be one of the best and least expensive means of providing an early warning of a potentially deadly fire and can reduce by almost half the risk of dying from a fire in your home.

Responsibility of Property Owners and Managers

Property owners and property managers have a responsibility to ensure that their buildings are maintained to code requirements and that the installed smoke alarms and sprinklers are in good working order. When a fire accident is caused by negligence (carelessness) or a lack of property maintenance, the property owners and/or property managers may be held liable for the injuries and loss of life that occurs. Injured victims or families of deceased victims can file a premises liability claim against the responsible parties including, but not limited to, the property owner, property manager, maintenance/repair company, etc.

Injured victims in such cases can seek compensation for damages including, but not limited to, medical expenses, lost income and benefits, permanent injuries, disabilities, past and future pain and suffering, etc. Families that have lost loved ones can file a wrongful death lawsuit seeking compensation as well.

Contacting an Experienced Lawyer

If you or a loved one has been injured in a fire or explosion, the experienced New York personal injury attorneys with the Law Offices of Kenneth A. Wilhelm can help you better understand your legal rights and options and also fight hard to recover just compensation for you. For 50 years, our skilled attorneys have established a proven track record of assisting injured victims. One of our clients – a hot water burn victim – secured $750,000 in damages from the property owner and manager.

Our firm also obtained a $985,000 settlement out of a $1 million policy for two people who suffered smoke inhalation injuries because the homeowner did not have smoke detectors installed and the $15,000 that was left on the insurance policy was for a person that we did not represent. Another client recovered $2,500,000 due to a faulty space heater. Also, one of our clients obtained a verdict for $43,940,000 and another of our clients got a verdict for $23,500,000, both in medical malpractice cases.

Please contact us TOLL FREE 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-800-WORK-4-YOU (1-800-967-5496). WE CAN EVEN COME TO YOU. There is no attorneys’ fee unless we recover money for you. We can also help with personal injury and/or medical malpractice cases in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, or Florida. If you have been seriously injured in any of the 50 U.S. states, please call us and we will try to help you with your case.

Other TOLL FREE phone numbers for us are:

1-800-RADIO-LAW, 1-888-WYPADEK, OR 1-800-LAS-LEYES

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