A 70-year-old woman and a 44-year-old man were killed after a fire broke out in an apartment unit in the Upper West Side. According to a report in the West Side Rag, the fire started the night of Nov. 10 in a fourth floor apartment at 216 West 62nd Street, which is part of the Amsterdam Houses operated by the New York City Housing Administration (NYCHA).
Pix11 reported that firefighters arrived to find flames in the fourth-floor apartment of the six-story residential building. Once the fire was extinguished, the two victims were found unconscious in the apartment. Emergency medical personnel pronounced both dead at the scene. Officials said a third victim, a woman in her 70s, was transported to an area hospital.
Neighbors told the media outlet that the victims were all members of a family, with the third injured woman being the mother of the man and the sister of the woman who died. NYPD said the fire was contained to the one apartment and that no other residents were displaced. An electrical issue may have sparked the fire, officials said, noting that the cause of the fire is still under investigation by the Fire Marshal. We offer our deepest condolences to the family of the deceased victims for their tragic loss.
Fire-Related Deaths and Injuries
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), more than 25% of the reported fires from 2015 to 2019 occurred in home environments. In addition 75% of civilian fire deaths and 72% of civilian injuries were caused by home structure fires. During this five-year period, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated 346,800 home structure fires each year. These fires caused an annual average of 2,620 civilian deaths, 11,070 civilian fire injuries and $7.3 billion in direct property damage.
Smoke alarms play a critical role when it comes to preventing deaths, injuries and damages in home fires. NFPA studies show that between 2015 and 2019, smoke alarms were present in 74% of the reported home fires. However, almost three out of every five home fire deaths resulted from fires where either no smoke alarm was present (41%) or at least one alarm was present but didn’t operate (16%).
Fires have the potential to result in severe burn injuries and smoke inhalation injuries, which studies show are deadlier than burn injuries. Burn injury victims often deal with job loss, mounting medical expenses and severe emotional distress from disfigurement and scarring.
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.
Whether you have been living as a tenant at a private apartment complex or in a public housing unit (the Projects), please remember that you have legal rights and can file a personal injury lawsuit against the NYCHA (the Projects) or private landlords (building owners) and building managers. 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
Please visit us at: www.WORK4YOULAW.com