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Who Is responsible For Fire Cases In New York

March 19, 2017
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This week a wrongful death was suffered by an unfortunate tenant in fire in a Yonkers building. Fire crews battled the fire for several hours prior to getting it under control. Fires present dangers of both person injury and death to both those who live in buildings and the firefighters who battle them. Our accident attorneys have extensive experience in handling fire cases both in New York City and in Westchester.

While the insurance industry will claim that fires which are accidental, are not the fault of anybody and just happen. Our New York City and White Plains Personal injury attorneys know better. While there is the occasional fire that just happens, without negligence, the overwhelming majority of fires are caused by carelessness or negligence. Common examples include electrical fires where the property owner has allowed a super, who is not a licensed electrician to do electrical work or has had an electrician perform work which overloaded the panel or otherwise failed to update wiring.

Another common cause of fires, especially flash fires is the failure of the super or building owner to shut off the gas lines while doing work with flammable or aerosol chemicals in the vicinity of a pilot light. Likewise where electricity is turned on, when there are flammable vapors in an area, that can also cause a fire. Another common problem is empty paint or stain cans with fumes left near a heat source. Whenever there is poor ventilation, combined with flammable vapors and a heat source such as a pilot light or electrical switch, that can spark a fire. In these cases the building owner can be held liable for their negligence and our New York accident lawyers have handled many of these cases.

Even in cases where a tenant negligently starts a fire, by leaving a cigarette near something flammable or through other negligence, the owner of a building can still be held liable where negligently maintained property makes the fire more dangerous. For example New York codes have strict requirements of fire detectors, to alert people that there is a fire so they can get out of the building safely. Likewise, New York rules also require self closing doors, so that once a fire is started, it doesn’t spread. In New York City especially, there must be safe egress, such as fire escapes, which must be kept in good working order. Our fire accident attorneys have successfully handled cases where the fire escapes didn’t pull down and our clients had to jump to escape the fire and sustained injuries from the jump.

Not only tenants of buildings who are injured have rights to sue those who are responsible. New York’s General municipal law allows firefighters in New York State who are injured in a fire to sue for damages whenever the fire was caused in part by a violation of any Code.

In determining who is responsible for a fire, the first step is the cause and origin report or the Fire Marshall’s report. Also obtaining pictures of the fire damage is critical because it will reveal where the fire started. Our Fire accident attorneys have offices in both Manhattan and White Plains.

 
The Law Offices of Michael H. Joseph