Many people are injured in the country each year due to apartment building fires. While a house fire is always a possibility, most people have a false sense of security and often rely on fire detectors to warn them of an impending danger. As a result, some are unable to escape a burning building without sustaining burns or smoke inhalation injuries.
On April 9, an apartment resident was taken to Morristown Medical Center after sustaining burn injuries in an apartment fire on Dekalb Place around 12:45 p.m. The Deputy Fire Chief said the fire was limited to the basement, but the building’s first and second floors and an adjacent apartment suffered water and smoke damage.
The injured resident got out of the building on his own and was in the rear yard of the apartment when emergency crews arrived at the scene. The victim’s age and the extent of his injuries were not immediately known, but some neighbors said he appeared to have suffered burns to his face. Firefighters were able to contain the fire within 20 minutes. Authorities are still investigating the cause.
Some of the leading causes of apartment fires are faulty electrical wiring, clogged fireplaces, defective appliances, malfunctioning boilers and furnaces, and overused electrical outlets. Unsafe behavior of some residents, such as smoking near combustible materials, leaving lighted candles unattended, and allowing small children to play with matches or lighters can result in fires. While many apartment fires can be traced to the carelessness of tenants and are beyond a landlord’s control, some are in fact caused by owner negligence.
An apartment building with multiple units is taken care of by a property manager or landlord whose responsibility it is to provide tenants with a safe building. Apartment owners are required to comply with fire and building codes. They must install fully-working smoke alarms, properly maintain fireplaces and other vents, have appropriate fire safety equipment, ensure properly constructed firewalls, and have accessible, marked fire escapes and exits. If property owners ignore or overlook such fire safety regulations, serious injuries and death may occur.
Some landlords try to maximize profits by taking every shortcut possible in the maintenance of buildings. The owner of an apartment building and other common-living environments has a responsibility to make sure tenants are safe. The cost of medical care and treatment for burn injuries can be overwhelming, and they often require multiple surgeries that can result in scarring.
If you or a loved one suffered burn injuries due to the negligence of a landlord, you may pursue a compensation claim against under the theory or premises liability. A New Jersey personal injury attorney can help obtain fair and just compensation for your injuries and losses.