According to ABC News, a massive fire turned fatal at the 19-story apartment building located at 333 E 181st St, Bronx, NY 10457.
Over 200 FDNY firefighters responded to a fire at the apartment after calls began to flood in around 11 a.m. on Sunday, Jan. 9, 2022. Residents described the amount of smoke as too intense to walk through the halls to safety. One resident on the 16th floor was making breakfast when he smelled the smoke. He opened his door to a rush of smoke entering. He stated that his first visit from firefights after calling 911 told him everything was under control. However, his second visit just thirty minutes later said they needed to follow them quickly to safety. Officials reported 19 deaths and over 60 injured, including 13 hospitalized with life-threatening injuries.
The building, owned by a joint venture including Bronx Park Phase III Preservation LLC, was built in 1972 and contained 120 apartments. An investigation determined that the fire started from a faulty electric space heater in a bedroom. While they found the smoke alarms to be operating, they are still investigating how the smoke could travel as far and quickly as it did.
Attorney contributor Laurence Banville represents victims of apartment fires in the state of New York. As an experienced fire injury lawyer, he recently discussed some of the legal options available to victims and their families, including who can be held liable for an apartment fire.
"Catastrophic apartment fires be the cause of many deaths and injuries. Officials will immediately investigate to determine the root of the fire, often leading to the party at fault. Many different scenarios can lead to third parties being held accountable."
"Apartment management and landlords have a legal duty to maintain the structural safety and health standards for the tenants in their buildings. Repairs should be prioritized, especially when they concern the immediate safety of the tenants. Safety oversights and violations may include faulty or lack of smoke alarms, crowded fire exits, or faulty wiring and heating equipment. If landlords fail to rectify unlivable conditions and violations, they could be held liable."
"Another scenario might include faulty or malfunctioning portable space heaters. These devices were the cause of more than 18,000 home fires in 2011. If the space heater is determined to have been defective, the manufacturer could be held liable for the fire and injuries. Additionally, if parts of the heater were found to be defective or recalled, the part supplier or even retailer may be accountable."
"Ultimately, the fault for an apartment fire will vary with each destructive incident. Victims and their families are devastated enough with losing their homes and belongings, and they should not have the added stress of navigating the legal system. A fire injury lawyer will understand the laws, identify the parties at fault, and help them get the compensation they deserve."