Home structure fires are deadly, serious events that, as analyzed below, claim at least 2,5K civilian lives a year and the lives of brave first responders who make the ultimate sacrifice. As a Miami apartment fire injury and wrongful death lawyer, Sean M. Cleary helps the injured victims and grieving loved ones recover compensation from those responsible for apartment fire injuries, whether it's a landlord or the manufacturer of a faulty device who did not provide appropriate fire safety equipment.
According to the NFPA Home Structure Fires report, during a five-year period, there were approximately 357K structure fires registered per year.
These blazes injured 12,89K civilians and claimed 2,47K civilian lives over just one year. Looking at these numbers differently, seven people in the United States died in a home fire every day.
Not all fire injuries can be attributed to negligence, but some do stem from:
- Landlord's failure to provide adequate heating
- Failure to provide fire safety equipment in the building
- Failure to keep up with a building's electrical maintenance
- Landlord's decision to cut off gas or heat to force tenants out
A landlord has the responsibility to keep a property in a safe condition at all times, regardless of when the tenant moved in; therefore, when they fail to respect the necessary safety measures or fix any potential hazards, they can be held liable for a fire that has caused you injuries.
There have been some deadly apartment fires in recent years, where a landlord's carelessness was either the reported cause of the blaze or a contributing factor.
Lawsuit Filed for Deadly Apartment Complex Fire
Floridians may have heard about a recent deadly apartment fire in Texas. Three lawsuits have now been filed in Houston on behalf of six of the survivors and one of the deceased victims.
The fire broke out in the morning and destroyed Building 500 at Iconic Village, which had two stories and a central courtyard. It then spread to Building 300 and a building in the adjacent Vintage Pads apartments. An inspection performed by the City of San Marcos revealed that:
- The fire alarms in the building didn't activate.
- The complex did not have any fire suppression equipment or working fire sprinkler systems.
The Iconic Village owner, the property management company, and the apartment manager have been hit with three multi-million lawsuits after a deadly fire at the San Marcos, TX apartment complex claimed the life of five people, injured others, and displaced more than 200 residents.
- The first lawsuit was filed by the parents of a young man who suffered third-degree burns over 70 percent of his body and head trauma as he tried to escape the fire.
- Another lawsuit was filed by the father of a young man who died in the fire; the lawsuit was later joined by five people who managed to escape their apartments.
- Another lawsuit was filed by two roommates who were both injured when they jumped from a second-floor window to flee their residence.
The plaintiffs claimed negligence on the part of the owner and managers by, among other things:
- Failing to provide a fire sprinkler system
- Inadequately inspecting and testing fire alarm systems
- Not warning people that the apartments were unreasonably dangerous
The plaintiffs demanded compensatory and punitive damages. By bringing suit, the victims could recover damages to compensate them for their economic and non-economic losses. In shocking cases such as what happened in the San Marcos apartment complex fire, it may be possible to recover punitive damages.
Deadly Condo Building Fire in Pompano Beach - You Have the Right to a Safe Home, Free From Fire Hazards
A condominium building caught fire in Pompano Beach, leaving one man dead. A family member identified the victim as a retired psychiatrist who had a practice in Brooklyn. Although the fire affected only one apartment, the smoke spread rapidly down the hallway and nearby residences. The man died of apparent smoke inhalation after going to a bathroom that had no ventilation.
The 15-story high-rise building did not have fire sprinklers. If it had fire sprinklers, the fire would have possibly been extinguished by the fire sprinkler system.
For those living in apartment buildings, a safe home means a building with:
- Regularly inspected fire extinguishers on the property
- Safe electrical wiring
- Smoke detectors in each apartment unit
- Accessible fire escapes
If your apartment does not comply with these safety standards, you have the right to speak up and demand better from your landlord. And, if your landlord fails to provide a safe apartment building and your family is subsequently hurt, our burn and fire injury attorney may be able to help you hold the responsible parties accountable by filing a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit.
When Can a Landlord Be Responsible for Apartment Fire Injuries?
There are three main situations when a landlord could be responsible for apartment fire injuries.
- First, landlords have a responsibility to make sure that a building is up to code. When an apartment is not up to code, the likelihood of it catching on fire increases. This means that landlords could be at least partly liable for fire injuries even if they were contributorily negligent.
- Also, sometimes landlords fail to fit working smoke detectors inside an apartment. This does not automatically mean that the landlord is directly responsible for the fire injury, but it could mean that the landlord is liable for any injuries that could have been prevented if the smoke detectors had been installed.
- Further, landlords may try to control the temperature of the apartment. When the landlord does this, a tenant has nothing left to do except to resort to other heating methods. If the landlords could have prevented the fire injuries and there is evidence that they knew that there was a chance a fire could start, the landlord may be held responsible for injuries.
Lawyer for Burn Injuries and Fire Deaths in Miami
If you, or someone you love, suffered a fire injury due to someone else's negligence, you may seek compensation by filing a personal injury claim.
Suits have been brought:
- Against landlords for failing to provide working smoke detectors
- Against manufacturers when their products were defective
Our Miami home fire injury attorney is here to help you get compensation to pay for your damages, including:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages