A mother and adult daughter were killed in a fatal apartment fire in New York City in late November. The blaze broke out in the early morning hours of November 23rd at an apartment complex in Washington Heights. 68-year-old Warnette James and her 37-year-old daughter Malaika were at home when the flames erupted from the unit’s kitchen. They were not able to escape the smoke and flames and suffered severe smoke inhalation.
Sadly, it took over 20 units from local fire agencies more than an hour to knock down the flames. By the time FDNY responders were able to extract the women from the apartment, their injuries proved fatal. They were both pronounced dead just minutes after arriving at a nearby hospital.
Investigators looking into the circumstances surrounding this fatal apartment fire in New York City immediately pointed out the faulty smoke detectors in the apartment in which the women lived. Having operational smoke detectors in inhabited apartments is a requirement under New York City Law. While landlords cannot control the actions of their tenants, (instances where a tenant removes a smoke alarm battery) they are obligated to keep the smoke alarms in good working order.
The City will investigate this fire and determine whether criminal charges should be brought and/or to levy fines against the building owner. This is separate and apart from a legal action in court that can be brought as well. If the surviving family members of the victims can prove that negligence on the part of the landlord or building manager, those individuals could be held financially liable for pain and suffering for the period of time the victims survived until they died and the amount of money they would have contributed to the household throughout their work life expectancy.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a blaze, contact an expert New York City apartment fire attorney immediately to protect your rights to financial compensation. Call the Law Offices of Nussin S. Fogel at 800-734-9338 or 212-385-1122 today.