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Could the Landlord be Responsible for a Deadly Apartment Fire?

Posted on by in Wrongful Death

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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 and wrongful death lawyer, Sean M. Cleary helps the injured victims and grieving loved ones recover compensation from those responsible for apartment fires 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 the course of just one year.

Looking at these numbers differently, every day seven people in the United States died in a home fire.

Not all fire injuries can be attributed to negligence, but some do stem from a landlord's failure to provide adequate heating or fire safety equipment in the building or to keep up with a building's electrical maintenance. Some landlords will even endanger tenants by withholding utilities like gas or heat to force tenants out of affordable housing units.

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 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 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.

The fire alarms in the building didn't activate, and an inspection performed by the City of San Marcos revealed that the complex did not have any fire suppression equipment or working fire sprinkler systems.

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 hurt 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 things, failing to provide a fire sprinkler system, adequately inspecting and testing fire alarm systems, and 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

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 to nearby residences. The man died of apparent smoke inhalation after going to the bathroom to speak with someone on the phone. The bathroom 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.

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 methods of heating. 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.

You Have the Right to a Safe Home, Free From Fire Hazards

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, and 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 hurt as a result, 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.

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 or against manufacturers when their products were defective.

Our Miami home fire injury attorney is here to help you get compensation to pay your medical bills and lost wages. Fill out our free case evaluation form online or call us today.

For questions and free legal advice to help individuals please call us

305.416.9805
Disclaimer: Please note that the information provided on this site is not formal legal advice, also the site does not allow you to form an attorney-client relationship.