It only takes one spark to start a blaze that has the potential to engulf an entire building in flames. And if that building is an apartment building, the apartment owner could face a premises liability lawsuit by injured residents.
Nearly 80 people are now homeless after a fire tore through their Massachusetts apartment building. Fortunately, there were no reports of injuries, as most of the residents were able to escape the four-alarm blaze via fire escapes. It is not yet known what caused the three-story building to catch fire. The former residents have since taken shelter in a nearby elementary school with the aid of the Red Cross.
Although this fire is still being investigated, it serves as a good example of the need for operable smoke detectors and fire extinguishers in the common areas of apartments as well as the need for proper evacuation routes, such as fire escapes. This is especially true considering approximately 80 percent of fire deaths occur in the victim’s place of residence. If the owner of an apartment complex fails to keep smoke detectors and fire extinguishers in common areas in good repair or if they do not provide an adequate and safe means of evacuation in case of a fire, then they could end up facing a lawsuit by an injured tenant. However, for the tenant to prevail, it must be demonstrated that their injury was directly caused by the landlord’s negligence.
Fires can not only damage buildings, they could also claim lives. In the end, proper fire prevention and a good emergency plan go a long way to keeping apartment residents safe in the event of fire.
Source: wggb.com, “Lynn Fire Displaces Dozens of Residents,” March 24, 2013