On Saturday evening, October 11th, a family of five perished in a fire in a housing project apartment in Chelsea. The dead included the parents and three children. One child survived and is in critical condition. See New York Daily News story here.
A fire Marshall surveying the damage.
It appears that the apartment’s smoke alarm was unplugged.
A smoke alarm is the often the only protection that you have against fire in your home. In this catastrophe the family was asleep and did not have adequate warning to leave the home.
New York City apartments must have smoke detectors. The landlord has the responsibility to install it in the apartment. However, the tenant has the responsibility to maintain it, such as making sure that it has working batteries. It is critical that the tenant keep the smoke detector working since most apartments have only one exit from the apartment, and it is critical to get out as soon as possible.
We have a case pending in which the landlord failed to provide a smoke detector to the apartment.
If you have been injured in a case due to either a malfunctioning smoke detector or the lack of a detector, please feel free to call us at 800-581-1434.
Mark E. Seitelman, 10/12/08, www.seitelman.com.
Post Update: Sadly, the last surviving child of the family, a young man, was taken-off life support. May the death of this family not be in vain!
M.E.S., 10/17/08, www.seitelman.com.