Our Experienced Premises Liability Injury Attorneys Explain Some Important Things You Need To Know If You Were Injured in a Building Fire
Fire and smoke are dangerous. They can cause property damage, injury, and at times, even wrongful death. If you were injured in a building fire, here are some important things you need to know
What Obligations Does a Landlord Have To Prevent a Building Fire?
Building owners have a general obligation to keep their property reasonably safe. This obligation includes the important duty to keep tenants safe from fire and smoke. Because of the inherent dangers and risks associated with fire, owners are required to comply with many specific rules and regulations designed to protect tenants. In fact, the New York City Fire Department has a comprehensive set of rules that details the fire safety obligations of property owners. While the exact nature of an owner’s fire safety obligation depends on the size, type and use of building involved, nearly every structure is required to have some form of fire protection. Some common types of fire protection measures include:
- Smoke detectors;
- Sprinkler systems;
- Fire escapes;
- Fire retardant insulation;
- Fire extinguishers.
Under the law, owners are required to inspect, maintain, and repair fire protection equipment on a regular basis. In fact, there are many record keeping obligations that owners have, including the requirement that the inspection, maintenance and repair of fire safety equipment be documented.
Is My Landlord Required To Install Smoke Detectors?
Not only does New York City require the installation and maintenance of smoke detectors, it also requires that tenants be provided with carbon monoxide detectors. Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas which is deadly. It is harmful because it deprives the brain and heart of oxygen, causing a loss of consciousness and suffocation within in a matter of minutes. Under New York City rules, owners are required to:
- Provide and install both a carbon monoxide and smoke detector in each unit;
- Replace any carbon monoxide or smoke detector, when necessary;
- Ensure that the carbon monoxide alarm has an end-of-life alarm;
- Provide written information about inspection, maintenance and testing of the detectors to an adult living in the unit;
- Keep, and provide upon request, records relating to the installation and maintenance of these devices.
How Do I Prove (and Win) a Fire Case?
To prove a fire case, you can establish that the landlord created the fire hazard. For example, fires can be caused by improper maintenance of elevator equipment, electrical wiring or any number of the other responsibilities of an owner. Sometimes, however, a building fire is not caused by an owner’s conduct, but rather for some other reason. For example, building fires can sometimes start because a person throws a lit cigarette down a trash compactor chute. Naturally, this can cause a fire. In this example, an owner may still be held responsible if the safety devices inside the trash chute, including the sprinkler system, fail to work properly.
Ultimately, fires are almost always investigated by experts within the fire department called origin and cause experts. These experts evaluate the scene after the fire and determine how, why and where the fire started. Once the investigation is completed, a detailed report is prepared by the fire expert which documents the expert’s opinion about the cause of the fire.
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If you were injured in a building fire, contact our experienced building fire personal injury attorneys by email or calling (800) 762-9300 for a free consultation. You can also fill out one of our case intake forms and one of our attorneys will get right back to you.
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