Man Killed in Westchester Apartment Fire

Fire AccidentMichael Damiano, 67, was killed in an apartment fire early morning on March 8. According to a report in The Daily Voice, the fire broke out at a seven-story, 95-unit housing cooperative in Westchester. A 67-year-old male resident of the fourth floor, identified as Damiano, succumbed to his injuries caused by the fire. A city spokesperson said 32 firefighters were treated for minor injuries and at least six residents were taken to hospitals to be treated for major and minor injuries. Dozens of residents were also evacuated from the building. An investigation found that the fire had started in a first-floor apartment maybe caused by an electric heating lamp used to cultivate six marijuana plants.

Ongoing Investigation

Investigators said evidence uncovered at the scene led them to believe that the lamp detached from its hanging support and broke, sparking the fire. Upon discovering the fire, a resident proceeded to raise the alarm and alert the neighbors. Officials said the cause of the fire highlights the need for better guidelines when it comes to lawful marijuana production in order to avoid such incidents in the future. The fire remains under investigation and is being reviewed by the Westchester County District Attorney’s office.

This was not the only fatal fire that occurred in the region last week. A deadly fire in Crown Heights at 922 Prospect Place near Bower Park in Brooklyn killed a man. Even though this fire was brought under control in about 40 minutes, firefighters discovered the victim inside the building. That person was pronounced dead at the scene. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the deceased victims of these fires. We offer them our deepest condolences.

According to FDNY’s statistics, structural fires declined by 4% while non-structural fires went down by 11% in the first four months of fiscal year 2022 compared to the same period in fiscal year 2021. Firefighter injury rates per 10,000 runs increased during the first four months of Fiscal 2022 – from 75.6 to 97.9 per 10,000 runs. Civilian fire fatalities rose by three counts in the first four months of fiscal year 2022 – from 19 in Fiscal Year 2021 to 22 the following year. The number of people who died in fires in New York City climbed 16 percent in 2021 — with 73 fatalities compared to 63 in 2020, FDNY data show.

Property Owners’ Responsibilities

New York City laws require property owners and/or property managers to maintain spaces that are safe for tenants, visitors and guests. Property owners are required to provide, install and maintain smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors in each unit. The devices should also be maintained and remain in good working order.

When a fire or accident at a building is caused by negligence (carelessness) or the 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 may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit seeking compensation for damages such as lost future income, funeral costs, medical expenses, pain and suffering, etc.

Contacting an Experienced Lawyer

Whether you have been living as a tenant at a private apartment complex or in a public housing unit (NYCHA) (the Projects), please remember that you have legal rights. If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of dangerous conditions, 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 over 51 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 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, lead poisoning and medical malpractice cases including, brachial plexus palsy (Erb’s palsy) and cerebral palsy 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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