A fire can become life-threatening in a matter of minutes, and even a small fire can result in an unthinkable loss. Unfortunately, in many home fires, victims were fatally injured before the fire department arrived at the scene. Dangerous blazes generally do not just happen. Most of the time, a deadly fire is the result of some form of negligence. Home fire injuries and home fire deaths occur more often in colder months. Home structure fire injuries are frequently caused by cooking materials, smoking materials, and heating equipment, according to the National Fire Protection Association. Over a five-year period:
- Smoking materials were the primary cause of accidental house fires deaths.
- Cooking equipment was the second-leading cause of home fire deaths and the leading cause of fire injuries.
- Heating equipment was the third-leading cause of fire deaths and the second leading cause of home fire injuries.
Almost three of every five fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms. Only 7% of these occurred in properties equipped with fire sprinklers.
Electrical malfunctions, heating equipment failure, or defective products, can all contribute to serious injuries and wrongful death.
House fires can result in:
- Permanent brain damage
- Injuries from inhaling harmful smoke
If someone you love died due to a home fire, then a Miami wrongful death lawyer can investigate the case and help you pursue the monetary damages that you are legally entitled to.
There are a variety of fire hazards and risks in your home, and it's essential to stay aware of them to keep you and your family safe. Here are some of the ways that a house fire injury can occur:
Home fire injuries involving electrical failure or malfunction
Girl killed in fire caused by faulty wiring. A State Fire Marshal's Office investigation found that faulty wiring was the cause of a house fire that claimed the life of a young girl. The girl was trapped in her room by the fire. Her parents were unable to find her due to the heavy smoke. She was eventually pulled from her family's burning house but later died at a local hospital.
Home fire injuries involving cooking equipment
Burn injuries caused by fire blamed on defective stove design. A man sustained burn injuries from a fire that started in his kitchen. The man was cooking dinner when he smelled gas from the top part of the stove, which suddenly burst into flames. Although he attempted to shut off the gas, the fire increased in size, causing him severe burns. Upon later inspection, the probable cause of the fire was discovered to be a gas leak linked to a defective seal in one of the stove's internal gas lines.
Young child killed in home fire caused by a faulty electric oven. The double oven electric range was purchased from a major national retailer, but it would turn on to extremely high temperatures and wouldn't stop. To have the oven fixed, the plaintiff contacted a service repair company in the general region. However, the serviceman who arrived at the plaintiff's home didn't have the necessary skills or parts to provide the needed repairs and left without correcting the issue and disabling the device. Three weeks later, the oven malfunctioned once again, causing a significant house fire, which caused the death of the plaintiff's young son.
Home fire injuries involving defective gas systems
Woman injured by fireplace explosion linked to defective gas system. An open gas fireplace with a glass guard located at a home owned by the plaintiff's colleague exploded severely injuring the plaintiff. During her time visiting the home, the colleague explained that the gas flow would be shut off if the pilot light for the unit was not lit. Seeing that the pilot light was not lit, she bent down in front of the unit to press the ignition button. The fireplace suddenly released an explosive discharge of flames, shattering the glass pane and sending tiny glass pieces at her face and causing her serious injuries.
Explosion injuries linked to corroded gas line. A woman suffered severe injuries due to an explosion linked to a corroded gas line under her property. Weeks before the explosion, the woman complained to the utility provider that she repeatedly noticed the smell of natural gas on the lawn and in her home. An investigation into the explosion determined that the gas pipe running underneath the house was more than 100 years old, and extensively corroded.
Home fire injuries involving dangerous products
Woman injured in fire caused by acetone-based cleaner. A woman sustained significant injuries in a fire caused by a standard, acetone-based household cleaning product. The plaintiff was using the product on the floor of her home when the cleaner suddenly ignited, causing her severe and permanent injuries. A comparable water-based product is also on the market, and it was alleged that the manufacturer of the cleaning product did not need to include the flammable compounds to maintain the effectiveness of the cleaner.
Fire injuries blamed on defective toy design. A class action was initiated in response to a line of defective and dangerous children's toys. Buyers were not warned of the fire hazard. A circuit board on these toys was negligently and dangerously designed and had a propensity to overheat while the toy was in use or while charging, causing spontaneous ignition of the internal components. In several separate instances, the toys started to emit smoke, fumes, sparks, and flames, some of which have resulted in extensive injuries.
Burn injuries caused by defective clothing iron. The plaintiff was using a clothes iron, purchased three months before the incident in question. He briefly put the iron down in the upright position and turned his back, but returned to find smoke and flames coming from where the electric cord met the base of the iron. The fire quickly spread to articles of clothing, the dresser, and the bedroom. The fire department extinguished the fire, but the plaintiff suffered second-degree burns on both of his arms.
Death of woman and disfigurement of child caused by defectively designed electric blanket. The electric blanket that the woman and her young son were using caught on fire and she was killed in the fire. Her young son was severely burned, left with disfigurement, and suffered an anoxic brain injury caused by a lack of oxygen. The child was expected to require lifetime medical treatment as a result of the fire.
Home fire injuries involving heating equipment
Man dies in house fire caused by gas-powered space heater. A man was using a space heater to provide supplemental heat to an enclosed porch attached to his home. While the heater was running, he left the porch area to prepare dinner for his family, but the heater malfunctioned, sparking a fire. The fire eventually spread from the porch area to the rest of his house and the man was killed in the fire.
Woman and child die in fire caused by defective portable heater. A portable electric heater started a fire in a row house which was the home of a twenty-three-year-old woman and her husband. The woman tried to save her two brothers and her daughter but died in the fire along with her three-year-old brother. Her nine-month-old daughter was left severely disfigured having sustained burns to most of her body. She also suffered a severe brain injury caused by a lack of oxygen.
Burns caused by dangerous space heater. A restaurant owner was using several space heaters, which were powered by a small cylinder of propane and were designed for indoor use to heat an enclosed patio. While working near the output grill of one of the heaters at what she believed to be a safe distance, the back of her clothes ignited, causing extensive burns on her skin and starting a small fire behind the bar.
Contact a Miami home fire injury lawyer
After a home fire tragically causes serious injury or death, insurance adjusters determine whether their policy covers your claim. Where did the fire start? Adjusters don't usually have the resources required to pursue this question, and investigative reports from city and fire marshals may not satisfy the legalistic concerns of insurance companies. If a loved one was injured or lost their life due to another person's or entity's negligence, you can rely on our home fire injury attorney and legal team to find answers to complex questions and build a strong wrongful death or personal injury case.
Often, the fire itself destroys the evidence. We have access to fire reconstructionists and experts who can analyze the evidence to determine the exact cause and origin of the fire. When a fire explosion involves faulty products, The Law Offices of Sean M. Cleary has exceptional legal skills, the drive, and resources to take on big business.
If you, or a loved one, were injured in a home fire, contact us. As a tenacious advocate in personal injury and wrongful death claims, Sean Cleary is ready to fight for your rights in holding any negligent party accountable. We represent injury victims and their families throughout Miami-Dade, Monroe, Broward, Fort Lauderdale, and Palm Beach Counties.