September 17, 2014

A recent fire that claimed the lives of four children in Roseland, Illinois, earlier this month is a reminder that landlords play a significant role in reducing the dangerousness of the properties they rent. Speculation is now growing that the four dead children, ranging in age between 7 and 15 years old, may have perished in the second-floor apartment where they lived due to a lack of working smoke detectors in the dwelling. Sadly, the apartment did have smoke detectors in the apartment’s hallway.

Although it has not yet been established whether the lack of fire alarms played a significant role in the Chicago, Illinois, area fire, similar questions remain about other deadly fires.

Just as recently as July, an eerily similar tragedy occurred when four children died in a fast-moving Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, fire. The young victims in that heartbreaking catastrophe were only between the ages of 1 month and 4 years old. Authorities did manage to locate two smoke detectors near the area where the children perished but were unable to determine whether the smoke detectors were functional at the time of the fire.

In still another fire here in Pennsylvania, a home in Bethlehem claimed the lives of another four young children back in 2008. In that tragedy, firefighters managed to locate only one smoke detector in the entire building. The device did not have any batteries installed in it, and it been installed in the basement.

Pennsylvania residents have a right not to be injured or killed by dangerous property conditions. A landlord or property owner incurs premises liability in cases where he or she fails to install adequate lighting, prevent icy sidewalks, cordon off wet floors and other similar hazardous conditions.

If you have been injured or lost a loved one due to a dangerous property situation you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and loss. Depending on the circumstances, it may be possible to sue the responsible parties to recover your damages. To learn more, please visit our webpage on dangerous property.

Source: Chicago Sun-Times, “Smoke detectors are key to helping families survive fires: Mitchell” Mary Mitchell, Sep. 13, 2014