An 8-year-old boy was killed and at least six others were injured in a Queens fire, which officials said, was caused by a burning candle and lack of working smoke alarms that may have alerted residents. According to a report in The New York Times, the family was not alerted to the fire because the smoke detector in the two-story home in the Springfield Gardens neighborhood did not work. Two older boys were able to jump through second-floor windows to safety, but the 8-year-old died from his injuries.
Smoke Alarms Not Operational
Sixty firefighters responded and it took them nearly an hour to bring the blaze under control. The second floor of the home was completely engulfed in flames. Police said a 12-year-old boy cut his wrist escaping through a window on the second floor where the fire started. He and five others were transported to an area hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation. Fire marshals determined that a burning candle led to the fire.
Officials said two-thirds of deadly fires in New York City involve smoke alarms that do not work. The Department of Buildings said it had not received any complaints about the house. But after the fire, inspectors found that the home’s cellar had been illegally converted into an apartment. They issued violations to the owner and had the property vacated, according to the buildings agency. Our thoughts and prayers are with the deceased victim’s family and all the others who were injured in this horrific incident.
Facts About Smoke Alarm Failures
Smoke alarms are devices that provide an early warning of a fire, giving people additional time to escape. According to a January 2019 report issued by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), between 2012 and 2016, smoke alarms were present in 74 percent of home fires reported to U.S. fire departments and had sounded in more than half of those fire incidents.
The report said almost three out of every five home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms (40 percent) or no smoke alarms that were working (17 percent). The death per 1,000 reported home fires was more than twice greater in homes that did not have working smoke alarms. In fires where the smoke alarms were present but did not operate, more than two of every five (43 percent) of the smoke alarms had missing or disconnected batteries.
Working fire alarms and smoke detectors offer the best protection against fires and smoke inhalation injuries. The New York City Housing Maintenance Code requires landlords and property owners and/or property managers to provide, install and maintain smoke detecting devices in each unit. All smoke detectors shall be of the type that emits an audible notification at the expiration of the useful life of the alarm. The American Red Cross states the fire death rate in homes with working smoke alarms is 51 percent less than the rate for homes that lack such protection. So, having a working smoke alarm reduces the chance of death by fire or smoke inhalation by nearly half. Sprinklers and smoke alarms together cut your risk of dying in a home fire by 82 percent in relation to having neither.
Contacting an Experienced Lawyer
In cases where the lack of working smoke alarms or sprinklers contributes to serious injuries, the victims or families of deceased victims can file a premises liability claim against the at-fault parties including, but not limited to, the landlord, property owner, property manager, etc. Property owners and/or property managers are responsible for maintaining their properties and ensuring that they are safe for tenants, visitors and guests.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a fire, the experienced New York personal injury attorneys at 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. Our firm 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 was left for a person that we did not represent. One of our clients recovered $2,500,000 due to a faulty space heater.
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 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.
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