NYC Ladder Fire Safety Issues & Code Violations Lawyers
Fire Injury Lawyers In New York City
When individuals are injured or lose a loved one in a fire, the aftermath can be overwhelming in physical, emotional, and financial terms. Establishing fire code violations as the cause of injuries or wrongful deaths can be a complex endeavor that involves navigating the intricacies of building codes and premises liability law.
While it is impossible to change the past, the skilled fire injury attorneys at Rosenberg & Rodriguez are dedicated to ensuring that you receive the full compensation you deserve for your injuries. We provide comprehensive assistance, including gathering evidence, interviewing eyewitnesses, determining the specific fire code violations, and identifying any negligence on the part of the property owner. Our team is committed to upholding your rights and seeking justice on your behalf. Contact our office now for a free consultation and to learn more about how we can help.
Building Fires Can Lead To Severe Injuries Or Death
If left unattended, fires can easily escalate and lead to significant harm to individuals and property. According to the NYS Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services (DHSES), there were a staggering 65,056 fire incidents in New York State in 2018, with 41,467 of them being building fires. These fires caused a multitude of consequences:
- 919 civilian fire injuries
- 1,585 fire service personnel fire injuries
- 102 civilian fire-related deaths
- 2 fire service personnel fire-related deaths
Injuries sustained during a fire can have devastating consequences. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, thermal burns only account for 24% of injuries in residential building fires. Surprisingly, smoke inhalation is an even greater source of harm, responsible for 41% of injuries. Combining thermal burns and smoke inhalation contributes to an additional 13% of injuries. Detecting and treating smoke inhalation damage can be challenging as internal lung injuries may not be immediately visible after exposure. However, symptoms often worsen in the hours and days following the incident.
It is important to note that smoke inhalation poses a particularly severe risk to children and the elderly. Furthermore, it can aggravate pre-existing cardiovascular and respiratory conditions. In extreme cases, it may lead to arrhythmia, heart attack, or even death.
Property Owner Liability For Building Fire Injuries
Property owners have a responsibility to ensure the safety of those who enter their premises. This includes taking reasonable precautions to prevent fires and adhering to local fire codes. If they fail to meet these obligations and someone is injured in a fire, the property owners may be held liable.
For instance, imagine the owner of an apartment building hiring a carpenter to install cabinets and repair closets in several units. However, some of the units have damaged or exposed wiring. The carpenter’s work involves using flammable chemicals. When a spark from the faulty wiring ignites the chemicals, a fire breaks out, resulting in severe burns for the carpenter.
In this scenario, the property owner’s negligence in ignoring the faulty wiring directly caused the fire, making them likely to be held responsible for the damages. However, property owners may also be held partially liable if their actions contribute to the spread of the fire or hinder people’s ability to safely evacuate. It is important to note that negligence leading to injury or death from a fire can take various forms., including:
- Unsanctioned open fires
- Debris around housing units
- Poor handling of flammable materials
- Faulty wiring or gas leaks
- Missing or broken smoke alarms
- Missing or inadequate sprinkler systems
- Inadequate signage where smoking is prohibited
- Blocked doors or escape routes
Understanding New York City Fire Codes
A fire code refers to a set of building regulations implemented by state or local governments to prevent fires and ensure the safety of occupants in the event of a fire. New York State and New York City have established stringent and comprehensive fire codes to safeguard their residents. If it can be proven that a property was in violation of the fire code during a fire incident, and someone was injured or killed as a result, the property owners may be held responsible for any damages incurred.
Most states in the U.S. adhere to the International Fire Code (IFC) for their fire regulations, with the exceptions being Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts, Maryland, Rhode Island, Florida, West Virginia, and Hawaii. Both New York State and New York City base their fire codes on the IFC. Fire codes encompass various provisions, ensuring the utmost safety and protection.
- When and where open flames are permitted
- Limitations on cooking equipment, fireplaces, smoking, and candle use
- Space requirements around a structure to enable fire department access
- The use and maintenance of fire alarms, sprinkler systems, fire extinguishers, and other fire control devices
- Proper storage and handling of combustible materials
- Functional and accessible means of exit
- Fire safety during building construction and demolition
These laws are frequently updated in response to devastating fires, with the aim of preventing similar accidents in the future. One notable incident is the Triangle Shirtwaist factory fire that occurred on March 25, 1911. Tragically, it claimed the lives of 146 workers, predominantly immigrant women in their teens and twenties. The building lacked a sprinkler system, and the intended fire control buckets were empty.
Shockingly, the building exits were locked, trapping the workers inside during the fire. Desperate to escape the flames, many women resorted to jumping to their deaths. The public was deeply shaken by this tragedy, prompting the introduction of new legislation. As a result, the New York City Fire Prevention Bureau was established and the fire commissioner’s powers were expanded.
You Need an Experienced Fire Injury Lawyer on Your Side
If you have been injured in a building fire, do not wait to seek legal representation. At Rosenberg & Rodriguez, we give special attention to fire injury cases. Our NYC fire accident lawyers understand the catastrophic consequences that fires can have on individuals and their families, and we are committed to pursuing justice for our clients. We also stay up-to-date with new fire safety regulations, so you can be sure that your case is in capable hands. Contact our office today to set up your free consultation and learn more about how we can help.