According to ABC News, firefighters are investigating a fire in a Philadelphia row house located on the 800 block of North 23rd St, Philadelphia, PA 19130.
Firefighters were called to the Fairmount neighborhood just before 6:40 a.m. They worked to put out the fire and had it under control within 50 minutes. The deadly fire caused the death of at least 13 people, of which nine are said to have been children. Two others, including another child, were injured and transported to a nearby hospital for treatment.
The row house was separated into two apartments and operated by the Philadelphia Housing Authority. Authorities say approximately 26 people were living in the building, including eight in the 1st and 2nd unit and 18 in the 2nd and 3rd unit. The investigation continues as they work to determine the cause. However, they believe it started in the 2nd story near the kitchen.
Fire officials reported that none of the four battery-operated smoke detectors worked at the time of the fire. However, a representative from the Philadelphia Housing Authority stated that an inspection was made in 2020 and two were newly installed. They also reported that during the 2019 inspection, four smoke detectors were installed.
Attorney contributor Brian Kent represents victims of catastrophic apartment fires in the state of Pennsylvania. For years he has worked as an apartment fire lawyer helping displaced and injured victims along with families of victims killed in these horrible events. Below he discusses the legal options available to victims injured in apartment fires, including who can be held liable.
"Living in a multi-family residential building, like apartments and row houses, can have many benefits. These often include the landlord or housing authority maintaining the building is safe and livable. This can include basics such as plumbing, electric, and heating and cooling functions. However, if a landlord or housing authority fails to upkeep the safety structure of the building, all tenants can be put at a greater risk for injuries or even death."
"When an apartment fire occurs, many factors will be investigated. The cause of the fire is a major concern, but the existing fire safety systems, like smoke alarms, are as well. Landlord negligence often includes defective or lack of smoke alarms, blocked fire exits, lack of fire extinguishers, overcrowding, and so many more. If a landlord is deemed negligent, victims of apartment fires may have grounds to pursue a civil lawsuit. When a landlord is aware of the dangers but fails to improve the building's safety measures, they could be held accountable for the tragic damages caused by the fire."
"An apartment fire lawyer can help victims navigate the legal aftermath of an apartment fire. Many are already struggling with the burden of losing their homes and personal belongings. They may have to come out of pocket for new housing in addition to the medical expenses for burn injuries. A lawyer can help victims seek the justice they deserve, including recovering financial compensation they need."