A fatal apartment fire in Harlem claimed the lives of six people earlier this month-including four children. The blaze broke out in an apartment building inside the Frederick Samuel Houses in Harlem around 1AM. FDNY officers found six people unconscious and unresponsive in bedrooms at the rear of the apartment unit in which the fire started. Attempts to resuscitate the victims were unsuccessful. Three other residents suffered from smoke inhalation and were taken to a nearby hospital for treatment.
Investigators suspect that this tragic apartment fire in New York started in the kitchen when a burner on the stovetop was left on overnight. Sadly, the layout of the apartment made it almost impossible for the victims to escape. The fire started in the kitchen-the closest room to the exit-and the fire escapes were on the opposite side of the apartment from the bedrooms. In addition, there may or may not have been working smoke detectors inside the apartment (records show the devices were last inspected in January).
Landlords in New York City have certain responsibilities regarding fire protection. Apartments must:
- Have working smoke detectors in units and hallways
- Those detectors must be inspected and tested regularly
- Stairwells and other escape route must be well-lighted and kept free from clutter and debris
- Additional fire prevention and suppression measures may be required depending on the size of the apartment building in question
If a landlord fails in their duty and a person or persons are injured or killed in a fire, that property owner could be held financially liable for those injuries and/or deaths. Additionally, if an improper repair or installation of an appliance or utility is thought to be the cause of a New York City apartment fire, the victims could hold the repair or installation company crew liable.
If you’ve been injured in a fire in your unit-you need to contact an experienced New York City apartment fire attorney to represent you immediately. Call the Law Offices of Nussin S. Fogel at 800-734-9338 or 212-385-1122 for your free consultation today.