Investigators, digging into an apartment fire that killed five children in New Jersey earlier this month, discovered over a dozen building and fire code violations, including blocked fire escapes. While the blaze happened across the border in New Jersey, similar fire code violations can be found almost anywhere in our city and could very well contribute to deadly apartment fires in New York City.
In addition to 4 building code violations, inspectors uncovered 11 serious fire code violations in the smoking rubble of the 6-story apartment complex. The violations included failure to maintain fire alarms, failure to maintain carbon dioxide alarms, and failure to maintain fire escape. Indeed, news camera footage from the site shows firefighters bravely battling the blaze but it also shows the sole fire escape leading from the 6th floor of the building (where all five of the victims slept) blocked by an air conditioner.
New York City premises liability law requires that apartment building owners or property managers comply with all of New York’s building and fire code statutes. This includes maintaining properly working smoke detectors to alert residents in the event of a fire and also ensuring escape routes from every room in the apartment.
If fire alarms are not installed, not replaced when their life span is up, or not equipped with working batteries, victims could very well suffer severe injuries and even perish before they’re even alerted to a fire. Additionally, if an escape route is blocked by debris, abandoned appliances and the like, escaping a blaze can become almost impossible.
In cases such as this, the building’s owner and/or property manager could be held liable for any injuries, property loss, or death in the event of a fire-regardless of whether they’re charged with a crime or not.
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured because of debris or garbage on an interior stairway or building fire, contact an experienced New York City apartment fire attorney immediately. Call the Law Offices of Nussin S. Fogel at 800-734-93378 or 212-385-1122 to get the legal help you need.