On Thursday July 10, 2014, seven people were killed and nine people were hospitalized as a result of a tragic fire in Lowell, Massachusetts. This fire, which was the deadliest fire in the state since 1994, was reported early that morning by a police officer passing through the area. The building involved was a mixed use building that had a liquor store on the first floor and apartments on the second and third floors. One of the families in the building lost the mother and father and three children; thankfully two of the couple’s children were able to escape the blaze. Almost fifty people lost their homes that day.
Reports of exploding firecracker-type sounds preceding the fire led officials to investigate its origin. On July 15 it was announced that the cause had been an electrical failure in a void space between the second and third floors of the building and burned for quite some time before spreading to adjoining apartments. Unfortunately investigators were unable to determine if there was a specific device that sparked the blaze. In addition there were no sprinkler systems in the building as it was built in 1890 and the building was not required to have them installed. The building passed Lowell’s rental-unit inspection in 2013.
Owner Liability For Burn Victims
If the owner of a rental property fails to keep his property up to code and a fire occurs, a resident may be deserving of damages for negligence. If the owner knew or should have known about a fire danger, that owner can be held liable. If the owner negligently hired a contractor who causes a fire, the owner can be found responsible for damages.
These damages may include medical costs, pain and suffering, property loss, and even wrongful death. This process may be very difficult for a family, as they may have to relive the emotional turmoil of rebuilding their lives after losing possessions, spending long periods of time in the hospital due to burns or other injuries, and in the worst cases, reliving the loss of a loved one.
Burn Injuries and Fires Can Be Catastrophic
Fires can start from several different sources for several different reasons. Arson fires are started purposefully, can involve lengthy investigations, and can lead to criminal charges and trial. Other fires can be started by household items such as a burning candle left unattended or by someone falling asleep while smoking. Faulty electrical wiring can also lead to fires, like the one in Lowell.
Injuries as result of fire can have lasting effects. The most damaging types of burns are third-degree burns. These types of burns can result in loss of skin layers, severe discoloration, and leathering of the skin, and always require treatment by a medical professional. Third-degree burns can leave permanent and sometimes painful scarring and treatment is often intense and very time consuming. In some of the most intense cases, skin grafts are required. Skin graft surgery involves being under anesthesia, meticulous care by surgeons and care-givers and lengthy, often painful recovery times. Some fires are truly tragic, leading to deaths of people of all ages by smoke inhalation or complications from burn injuries.
Hire an Experienced Attorney
Neil Burns has been aggressively representing wrongful death and personal injury victims since 1985. He will guide you through the process, working tirelessly along the way to get all the damages you and your family deserve. There is always a free consultation and never any cost to you unless your case is won.