Fire Injures 12 People in Bronx Apartment Without Working Smoke Alarms

At least 12 people were injured, including young children, in a Bronx fire, which officials say, was sparked by an e-scooter. According to a WABC news report, a 4-year-old boy remains in critical condition. FDNY officials said there was heavy smoke and fire coming out of several windows with many occupants calling for help from inside. Firefighters removed people from both the interior and exterior using tower ladders.

No Working Smoke Alarms

Four children were injured in the fire including the 4-year-old. Also in critical condition are a 42-year-old man and two women, ages 41 and 33. In addition, two 2-year-old girls, a 6-year-old girl, a 22-year-old woman and a 61-year-old woman are all in stable condition. Two firefighters reportedly suffered relatively minor injuries.

FDNY Fire Marshals ruled the fire to be accidental caused by a lithium ion battery from an electric scooter stored in the living room. Officials also said that there were no working smoke alarms in the apartment where the fire broke out. Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone who has been injured in this horrific fire and we wish them all a speedy and complete recovery.

Smoke Alarm Laws in NYC

Based on this news report, it appears that the Bronx apartment unit where the fire started, had no working fire alarms. The New York City Housing Maintenance Code requires landlords (building owners) and property owners/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. Property owners/managers are also required to provide and install at least one approved carbon monoxide alarm within each dwelling unit. Smoke alarms save lives and protect against injury and property loss due to a fire.

According to the American Red Cross, the fire death rate in homes with working smoke alarms is 51 percent less than the rate for homes that lack such protection. Having a working smoke alarm reduces the chance of death by fire or smoke inhalation by nearly half. An estimated 890 lives may be saved each year if all homes had working smoke alarms. Sprinklers and smoke alarms together cut your risk of dying in a home fire by 82 percent when compared to having neither.

Injuries and Liability Issues

Fires have the potential to result in major injuries such as burns and smoke inhalation injuries. Burn injuries are usually categorized from first to third degree depending on the seriousness of the burns. Burn injuries often require hospitalization and lengthy and costly treatment. In many cases, victims suffer permanent and disfiguring scars and injuries. However, smoke inhalation is the main cause of death for victims of residential fires. Smoke inhalation injury refers to injury due to inhalation or exposure to hot gaseous products of combustion. This can cause serious respiratory complications. Smoke inhalation injuries are often more dangerous than burn injuries. All fire-related injuries, whether they are burns or smoke inhalation injuries, require prompt medical attention, treatment and care.

Property owners and managers have a legal obligation to ensure that their buildings have smoke and fire alarms that are in good working condition. The property owner/manager can be held accountable for fire-related injuries, particularly if negligence (carelessness) played a part. Plaintiffs (the injured party) in such cases can file what is known as a premises liability claim, seeking damages.

Some examples of property owner/manager negligence (carelessness) include failing to maintain the property properly, not making necessary repairs and failing to install or maintain fire and smoke alarms in the building. In some cases, where the fire was caused by the utility company’s negligence (carelessness), they may also be held liable. If the fire was caused by a malfunctioning smoke detector or sprinkler system, the manufacturers of those defective products may be held accountable as well.

Contacting an Experienced Lawyer

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 that was left on the insurance policy was for a person that we did not represent. One of our clients 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 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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1-800-RADIO-LAW, 1-888-WYPADEK, OR 1-800-LAS-LEYES

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