Jul 2013

Fall River Electrical Fire Destroys Rentals & Raises Questions of Liability for Apartment Injuries

Massachusetts workers' compensation attorneyOver the July Fourth weekend, tenants in eight different apartments on Columbia Street in Fall River were displaced from their homes by a massive fire. The fire occurred in a building above Sagres Restaurant where at least 13 tenants were living in rental units.

As Wicked Local reports, the fire is believed to have been caused by electrical problems.  Investigators are still looking into the origins and the investigation will hopefully reveal the specific cause of the massive blaze.

Our Fall River injury lawyers know that electrical fires often occur as a result of faulty wiring and improperly maintained electrical systems. If such a problem did occur in this situation, the tenants injured in the fire could have a legal liability claim against the landlord or against whomever was responsible for maintaining the building safely.

Injuries in Apartment Units 

The fire began around 11:40 p.m. on Saturday evening. It is believed that the fire originated in the area between the ceiling of the second floor apartment and the ceiling of the third floor apartment, directly in the core of the building. The fire then spread throughout the walls and floors of the building before breaking out in a second-floor living room.

An estimated eight apartments were affected by the fire, with around 13 tenants displaced from their homes. At least four tenants were rescued by firefighters from their homes on the east side of the building and were transported to the hospital for treatment of their injuries.

Firefighters called to the scene were able to fight the blaze without suffering injury, although there were some firefighters who were still chasing hot spots as late as 3:00 AM. Significant water damage occurred to the building and the damage was widespread due to the fact that the fire spread throughout.

It’s fortunate that no one was killed in the fire. Still, burn injuries are often very serious and costly to treat and can leave injured victims with lasting scars. Smoke inhalation can also affect the lungs when a fire occurs.

When serious injuries are sustained in an apartment fire, it is important to determine who was responsible for the blaze.

Individual tenants are responsible for securing the safety of items inside of their own apartments, such as toaster ovens and countertop appliances they might bring into the unit. However, landlords are responsible for the structure as a whole including fixed appliances and electrical wiring.

Landlords have a legal obligation to make sure that apartment buildings are safe for tenants living in them and if a landlord fails in his obligations to those living in the apartment, the landlord can be held legally responsible for any and all injuries and damages suffered as a result of his negligence.

If you have been injured in an accident, contact an experienced lawyer at 508-677-4900. The Law Offices of Deborah G. Kohl serves clients in Providence, R.I., Foxborough and Fall River, Mass.

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