Investigators are combing through the wreckage left behind after a deadly apartment fire in Harlem that claimed the lives of an entire family-six people in total including four children. In a statement to news media, fire investigators said that they found no evidence of working smoke detectors in the home.
Previously an investigation into the inspection records kept by the landlord found that the smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors in the building had last been inspected in January. However, fire investigators could not find any working detectors in the apartment in which the fire started after the blaze. It’s unclear at the moment whether the detectors had malfunctioned (or were removed) between their last inspection and the fire or whether they were purposefully disabled. Further investigation is required.
Under New York City law individuals or companies which own multiple occupancy buildings (apartments) are required to:
· Provide and install at least one approved and operational smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector in each dwelling unit.
· Replace the units if they are damaged, stolen, or have reached their expiration date.
· Ensure that these alarms are equipped with end-of-life warnings
· Give tenants written documentation and instruction about the use and care of these devices.
· Keep documentation pertaining to the installation and maintenance of these detectors on file.
Indeed, a new smoke detector law went into effect in April of 2019 requiring all new or replacement smoke detectors to be powered by a non-removable 10-year lifespan battery or hardwired into the home’s electrical system.
If the landlord fails in any of these responsibilities, they could be found liable for a New York City apartment fire and be held financially responsible for any injuries, lost time from work or death.
If you’ve been hurt in fire because there were no working fire or smoke detectors in your building, you need an experienced New York City apartment fire attorney fighting for you. Call the Law Offices of Nussin S. Fogel at 800-734-9338 or 212-385-1122 for your free consultation today.