Modified: October 31, 2022

Deadly Fires Begin the New Year and Negligence

Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorneys

In our country, data about large fires are all over the news, with the left arguing they are caused by global warming and the right complaining about the left refusing to let states engage in proper forestry. The evidence shows that arsonists and possibly foreign terrorists cause many fires. Even the Imperial Japanese Army tried to burn down U.S. West Coast forests, using hot air balloons with napalm firebombs to spread a destructive fire across the West Coast.

In California, our 1994 earthquakes knocked over unstrapped weather heaters, igniting natural gas explosions and causing companies, residents, and taxpayers to estimate billions of dollars in property damage from turned structures.

Even lightning and other natural disasters can trigger a sea of flames. Did you know that Christmas trees cause approximately 160 fires (two deaths per annum), costing $10 million in damage? The dried-out trees can become fully engulfed in flames in about 15 to 20 seconds. Even heating equipment can torch your home, leading to horrific fatalities. Because of this, fatalities remain a risk for homeowners.

Whatever the causes, fires can kill, maim and destroy families. Suffering severe burn injuries and smoke inhalation are often sustained as people attempt to evacuate buildings on their way to the ground floor. Victims of these recent fires can consult a Los Angeles burn injury attorney if they have questions about homeowner’s insurance or injury claims against other liable parties causing contributing to the fires.

How Did the New Year’s Fires Start, and Who Can Be Held Liable to Cover the Damages?

I am a California fire injury lawyer, Michael Ehline. I am a highly trained burn injury attorney in all things related to fires and burns, including advanced knowledge about the California Department of Forestry (CAL FIRE). Below I will talk about the two blazes in Colorado, the latest fires, and what to do if you suffered a fire-related loss in California. In the end, I will include some bonus information for wildfire accident victims.

Colorado Fires

Denver-Boulder

Three deadly fires begin the New Year within the first days in three states. The first wildfire happened in Colorado. Fires burned through suburban neighborhoods near Denver-Bolder metropolitan on the west side. The fires reported on December 30th claimed two lives, with a third person missing, burning about 6,000 acres and over 1,000 structures. The Marshall fire could shift how firefighting and land management are done. Boulder County spokesperson Jennifer Churchill said the total burned and destroyed given by officials included homes, barns, outbuildings, vehicles, and other structures, with the majority burned homes. The fires caused approximately 35,000 evacuations of Louisville, Superior, homes in Boulder County on December 30th, mostly contained quickly.

State of Emergency

Governor Jared Polis said, “This wildfire is, frankly, a force of nature.” The governor declared a state of emergency to deploy the Colorado National Guard, releasing funds and other resources. The Denver-Bolder suburb wildfires were caused by high winds and ignited by sparks from transformers and power lines in the drought-parched Front Range.

Pennsylvania 

Philadelphia

Pennsylvania was the scene of the following deadly fire. The fire happened in the 800 block of N. 23rd Street. The fire began just before 6:40 a.m. on the 5th. It killed 12 people, including four adults and eight children. Twelve of them died, including three sisters and nine of their sons and daughters. Two, including the 5-year-old and a man who climbed out of a third-story window, were hospitalized with injuries.

Mayor Jim Kenney

The Philadelphia fire happened at a Public Housing Authority property in the Fairmount Section of Philadelphia. Mayor Jim Kenney said at a news conference. “Without a doubt, one of the most tragic days in our city’s history. Losing so many kids is devastating … Keep these babies in your prayers.”

The house was originally a single-family dwelling which, later, was split into two apartments, unit A and unit B. Unit A was on the first and part of the second, with eight living there. Unit B, where the fire began, comprised the second and third, with eighteen living in that apartment.

The PHA said that when they did their occupancy recertification in October, they were aware of 14 residents in Unit B. A spokesperson for the Philadelphia Department of Licenses and Inspections said the city does not limit the number of family members that can stay in a single unit.

Firefighter Crews

Murphy said fire crews got the fire under control in less than an hour, rescuing one child who later died from their injuries. The first 911 call about the fire in the 800 block of N.23rd Street was received at 6:36:28 and answered immediately. This was the first of 36 calls to 911 between 6:36 a.m. and 6:39 a.m. Battling a fire or handling any other disaster is the priority.

Firefighter officials arrived on the scene of the building blaze four minutes after the first call. The Philadelphia Fire Department was en route to the location at 6:38:27 a.m.com, where the alleged kitchen fire broke out at 6:40 a.m.

Smoke Alarms?

On Wednesday night, the city said firefighters encountered heavy smoke with limited visibility and heat on all floors. Firefighters said the home had no working smoke detectors.
PHA said during a spring 2021 inspection, the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors were in working order. Allegedly, all smoke detectors were operating correctly in a 2021 inspection.

Philadelphia Housing Authority Statements?

There were seven smoke detectors, including three carbon monoxide detectors in one location, six smoke detectors, and three in another apartment during a 2021 inspection. Kelvin Jeremiah, the director of the Philadelphia Housing Authority, said: “This incident … highlights the fundamental truth that there is, in fact, an affordable housing crisis in the city.”

Investigation – Where the Fire Began

Because of the deadly row home blaze, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives said they were bringing in the ATF’s National Response Team. This team specializes in the origin and cause of fires.

The Philadelphia Fire Commissioner said: “We believe with certainty -so 99 to 100% confidence the first item ignited on the second-floor Unit B was a tree ignited by a lighter near the Christmas tree.” A 5-year-old child was the only person in the second unit where the tree and lighter started the blaze. The 5-year-old child remains one of two survivors.

The National Fire Protection Association Opinion?

According to the National Fire Protection Association, fires involving a Christmas tree are much more likely to be fatal than other house fires. Officials said eight of the residents of the two units escaped the flames and falling rubble. Rosalee McDonald, Virginia Thomas, and Quinsha White were three adults who died. The dead children were Dekwan Robinson, Destiny McDonald, Janiyah Roberts, J’Kwan Robinson, Natasha Wayne, Quientien Tate-McDonald, Shaniece Wayne, Taniesha Robinson, and Tiffany Robinson. They allegedly died of smoke inhalation.

New York City 

Bronx

A deadly fire occurred Sunday, January 9th, in the 19-story Twin Parks Towers North West building. The apartment fire killed nineteen people, including nine children. Dozens more suffered injuries at 333 East 181st Street. The fires blazed because of a malfunctioning space heater, officials said.

The fire stayed contained to the unit it began, but the smoke traveled the hallways and stairwells to other apartments. Firefighters had the fire out by 1:00 p.m. and evacuated residents through windows and down ladders. Some firefighters ran out of oxygen while rescuing high-rise residents and continued without it.

Officials said this is the deadliest space heater fire in over three decades. Nineteen people died, including nine children. Forty-four people suffered injuries, with 13 in critical condition.

Under investigation is why the door did not close automatically. This allowed smoke to fill the building, causing smoke inhalation.

In the press event, the FDNY Commissioner said we transported the deceased to seven different hospitals and reduced the number from 19 to 17, citing a double count of two casualties. It’s likely the death toll will multiply. The injured remain in critical condition.

They report that approximately 44 people suffered injuries, with at least 13 in hospitals with several incubated. The FDNY Commissioner said the heroic efforts of firefighters and EMS, along with hospitals, the death toll could have gone much higher.

A public servant said those hurt remain in area hospitals spread out in several hospitals, including Jacobi Medical Center, Westchester Medical Center, and New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Cornell. The damage did not affect the structural integrity.

FDNY Commissioner Nigro said they erected the high-rise in 1972 under the federal government. He said they potentially built it outside the New York City fire code: it had no access to fire escapes and only had the internal stairwell. (accounts from residents and investigators confirm a bedroom and a portable electric heater likely caused the spark).

Owners Statement

“We are devastated by the unimaginable loss of life caused by this profound tragedy,” it said. “We cooperate fully with the Fire Department and other agencies as they investigate its cause, and we are doing all we can to assist our residents.”

Resident Where the Fire Started

Eyewitness News reporter Josh Singer spoke with Mamadou Wague, who told the reporter the fire started in his duplex. He lives with his wife and eight children. As they awoke from slumber, they screamed Fire, Fire, Fire! When Wague saw the mattress fire, he told everyone to get out. Malfunctioning ceiling smoke alarms on the upper floors are also under investigation.

New Mayor Eric Adams

Mayor Eric Adams and the commissioner released the number of residents suffering injuries in the high-rise blaze. They said thirty-two were transported to area hospitals with life-threatening injuries, and nine were hospitalized with severe injuries. Sixty-three people sustained injuries. Adam said sadly 19 of the injured were lost.

Displaced Residents

The American Red Cross gave the residents displaced by the fire hotel rooms until they could return to their apartments in the 19-story Twin Parks Towers North West or find other permanent public housing. They will Continue to Support the people.

The Mayor said 30 people remained hospitalized. Many injured were Muslim immigrants from the West African community (Gambia).

The apartment high-rise fire was the worst the Bronx has seen since 87 people died in an intentionally set nightclub fire in 1990. Other apartment fires with doors left open include a 2017 fire in which 13 people died when a young boy in a first-floor apartment played with the stove. The fire spread quickly through the building. In California, you can sue negligent manufacturers of space heaters, slumlords, and even your insurance company under bad faith insurance rules. If you need a superior burn injury lawyer, you can contact Ehline Law Firm at (213) 596-9642.

How Can You Be Prepared for Wildfires in California?

Individuals often have little time to evacuate when a wildfire warning is issued. Ready.gov provides information about how to remain safe during a wildfire by preparing for a wildfire before the conflagration breaks out and how to remain safe during and after the wildfire.

Tips that the website provides for preparing now include:

  • Sign up for natural and local EMS warning systems.
  • Plan multiple egress routes from your location, including a designated staging area.
  • Prepare a disaster kit (bug-out bag), including N95 respirators, so you can avoid breathing in deadly carcinogens.
  • When no evacuation order is given, authorities suggest creating a “safe” space that remains sealed from smoky air. A HEPA air filtration system could be utilized to filter the contaminated air.
  • Always keep important heirlooms and legal documents in a fireproof safe and make photocopies stored online or on a thumb drive offsite.
  • Use flame-resistant building materials.
  • Purchase proper insurance coverage.
  • Evacuate right away if notified to do so. If you cannot escape, contact 911 n.
  • Listen to NOAA Weather Radio for alerts and information if you have reception.
  • Wear your mask and perhaps a wet towel over your face to prevent you from being affected by poor-quality air and toxins you could breathe.

Cal Department of Forestry and Fire Protection Observations

The CDFFP suggests that when a wildfire has burned out:

  • Exercise caution when returning to your property/residence. This is because there could be smoking hot areas, including weakened structures, falling debris, and other hazardous conditions.
  • Document property damage with photographs and take notes. You can also go to the Cal Fire website to learn more.

Contact a California New Years Wildfire Injury Attorney For a Free LEGAL Consultation

The destruction caused by wildfires is colossal. The reported insurance claims from California’s November 2018 wildfires alone are well over $11.4 billion, with wildfire insurance claims in 2017 costing about $12.4 billion.

Do you need help filing an insurance claim? Sick of bartering with insurance adjusters trying to lowball you? Are you now broke and homeless and need help to get back on your feet to secure a financial future? Contact a superior California wildfire injury attorney for assistance in helping you through the complex legal process and filing an insurance claim.

We’ll provide you with a free consultation review of your information and research to help your receive maximum compensation for your injuries, property damage, or wrongful death and even file a lawsuit on your behalf. Contact Ehline Law immediately to learn more than the general information and discuss your legal options with a highly-rated injury lawyer in CA.

Top Notch American Injury Lawyer, Michael Ehline

Michael Ehline

Michael is a managing partner at the nationwide Ehline Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, APLC. He’s an inactive Marine and became a lawyer in the California State Bar Law Office Study Program, later receiving his J.D. from UWLA School of Law. Michael has won some of the world’s largest motorcycle accident settlements.

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