Getting a Recovery for Fire Injuries; Living in a “Firetrap” Apartment


In November I wrote about a fire in a “firetrap” in Queens, New York, which took the lives of three men.  See our prior post here.

One of the survivors is making a claim for his burn injuries.  See New York Daily News story here.

Shafin Ahammed files a notice of claim, a precursor to a lawsuit, accusing the city of negligence when rescuers were sent to the wrong address during a fire which killed three men and injured four.

The survivor is making two claims against:

  1. The City of New for the Fire Department’s delay in responding to the fire.  Apparently, the dispatcher sent the FDNY to the wrong address, and valuable time was lost in fighting the fire and rescuing this survivor.  Furthermore, the survivor claims that due to the delay he had to step-in and attempt the rescue of the others
  2. The owner of the house for illegally converting a two family house into a five family apartment house.  The homeowner illegally cut-up the basement into single rooms.  The conversion was unsafe and in violation of the fire and building codes and either caused or contributed to the spread of the fire.

The survivor has filed a Notice of Claim with the City.

We do not comment on the merits of the case against the City.  The City as a sovereign government has certain immunities from suit.  This claim can be difficult to prove, and the law may not support this claim. 

However, it appears clear that there is a  case against the homeowner for illegally cutting-up a two family house into a five family apartment house.  The violations of the fire and building codes probably caused or contributed to the deaths and injuries.

The fire and building codes contain safety provisions allowing safe egress from the building in the event of a fire or other disaster.  Cutting-up a basement into single occupancy rooms would hinder safe escape.

If you have been injured in a fire, please feel free to call us for free consultation at 800-581-1434 or write to us at letters@seitelman.com

Mark E. Seitelman, 12/22/09, www.seitelman.com.

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