Boston Rental House Fire / Apartment Fire Attorney

Everyone should feel safe at home, regardless of whether you own a home or rent one. When you rent a house or apartment, your landlord is responsible for ensuring that the property is reasonably safe and in good condition.

The sad fact is that not all building owners take steps to ensure that residents have a safe place to live. When property owners are negligent and allow dangerous conditions to exist, apartment fires and rental house fires can occur. It is a sad reality as most fires are preventable.

If you or someone you know has been hurt in a rental house or apartment fire, the Boston rental fire attorneys at Jeffrey Glassman Injury Lawyers can help. We can investigate the circumstances surrounding the fire and let you know if a landlord or some other party may be liable for your damages.

We encourage you to contact our law firm as soon as possible for a free legal consultation. Any delays could cause vital evidence to be lost or destroyed.

Determining Liability for a Rental House or Apartment Fire

Most times, house and apartment fires result from routine activities such as cooking. The National Fire Protection Association reports that cooking-related fires account for 48% of all reported residential fires and are the main cause of home fire injuries and deaths. Cigarettes and candles combined for less than 10% of house fires.

Other common causes of residential fires include heating-related accidents, malfunctioning electrical equipment, and arson.

Following a fire, you might be wondering who is responsible for your families' injuries and property loss. Depending on the circumstances, one or more parties could be liable, including:

  • Property owners and landlords
  • Property management companies
  • Architects and contractors
  • Appliance manufacturers
  • Maintenance workers
  • Electrical contractors and electricians

Landlords must follow city, state, and federal fire safety regulations to keep tenants safe. Landlords may be held liable if the fire was caused by:

  • Faulty electrical wiring.
  • Lack of smoke alarms.
  • Lack of safe fire escapes, fireproof doors, or fire extinguishers.
  • Exit routes being blocked.
  • Violations of building codes.
  • Overcrowding.

Massachusetts' sanitary code (CMR 410.482) requires landlords to have hard-wired fire alarms in all common areas such as hallways and laundry rooms, and smoke detectors inside individual units. In addition, they must install carbon monoxide alarms if gas is burned in the building or if there is an indoor parking garage. They are required to install sprinkler systems under certain circumstances, like when a building is under renovation.

In addition, landlords must follow federal laws if their properties include apartment units categorized as Section 8 housing. These public housing laws govern the use and placement of sprinklers, smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, and other fire safety devices. Unfortunately, some landlords ignore these laws and place innocent people in jeopardy.

A third party could be held accountable for manufacturing a defective product, such as a fire alarm, sprinkler, or smoke detector that failed to work as advertised. They could also be held liable for manufacturing a defective heater or appliance that started a fire. Washers, dryers, stoves, and refrigerators are common household appliances that often spark household fires. Likewise, propane companies could be held liable for a tank explosion.

Building contractors could be on the hook if they cut corners and their poor construction led to a fire. Similarly, electrical contractors and electricians could be held responsible if an electrical problem caused a fire.

Electrical fires happen more often than you might expect. Approximately 17% of house fires are reportedly electrical in nature. These fires can be caused by faulty wiring, ungrounded outlets, or even rats and other pests nibbling on wires. However, regular inspections and maintenance can detect many of these problems and eliminate these risks.

Rental House and Apartment Fire Injuries

While fires are scary under any circumstances, they are especially frightening when they involve apartment buildings and other multi-unit dwellings such as condominium complexes and dormitories. Residents may have to negotiate stairways and follow an exit route to get to safety. They could be stuck in a burning building many floors above the ground. Children and seniors are especially at risk.

Fires can cause different types of burns and other serious injuries. Many people who survive rental house and apartment fires suffer second and third-degree burns. Second-degree burns involve the first and second layers of a person's skin. People with these burns often experience blisters and skin loss.In contrast, third-degree burns penetrate the entire thickness of the skin and cause permanent tissue damage. The skin may appear charred and have white, black, or brown patches.

Burns are extremely painful and must be treated by a medical professional to promote healing and prevent infection. In severe cases, burn victims may need skin grafts in which healthy skin is removed from one part of the body and surgically transplanted to another.

People who survive fires often suffer broken bones if they must jump out a window to avoid oncoming flames or if they are inside the building when structural elements collapse. In addition, people who inhale large amounts of smoke, carbon monoxide, and other toxins can suffer brain injuries and damage to the heart and other internal organs. They may experience ongoing trauma and emotional distress after the event.Sometimes fires involve explosions that can cause hearing damage, puncture wounds, and other injuries.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, most individuals who die in fires do so from smoke inhalation or exposure to toxic gasses..

Following a fatal rental house or apartment fire, a personal injury attorney can help you file a wrongful death suit against all at-fault parties.

What Should I Do After a Rental House or Apartment Fire?

After escaping a fire, the first thing that you should do is seek medical care for your injuries. As mentioned above, burns need to be treated by a medical professional. Even if you think you are okay, a doctor should check you for smoke inhalation and other injuries.

When you are allowed to return to the property, look for important documents such as your birth certificate and other identification, renter's insurance, and lease agreements.

Make a list of any personal property damaged in the fire and include each item's value.

Request a copy of the fire inspector's report. The report will contain information, such as the cause of the fire, that will be beneficial when you file insurance claims. You may be able to use the report as evidence to prove that your landlord or another party was at fault for the fire.

Take photos of your injuries and the damage caused by the fire.

If a faulty appliance such as a space heater or stovetop caused the fire, save the defective item at least until you can speak to an attorney.

Contact a fire injury attorney as soon as possible. An attorney can help you file claims with any insurance companies and ensure that your claims are not undervalued. Keep in mind that an insurance adjuster will try to minimize the amount of your claim as much as possible.

An attorney can also file claims against a negligent landlord and other at-fault parties.

House and Apartment Fire Safety Tips

Know your building's fire exits and evacuation plans, and respond to every alarm as though it is alerting you to a real fire. Do not return to a burning building to look for missing people or pets. Instead, wait for the firefighters to arrive.

If you find yourself trapped inside a burning building, the CDC advises that you:

  • Crawl low to the ground because smoke rises.
  • Leave quickly (as long as it is safe to do so) with a moist cloth covering your nose and mouth.
  • Test doorknobs using the back of your hand to see if they are warm and use another escape route if they are.
  • Take the stairs and not an elevator to escape.
  • Call the fire department or yell for help. Hang or wave a sheet to let emergency responders know your location.
  • Close any doors between yourself and the fire and seal your door with rags.
  • Open windows slightly but close them if smoke starts to invade the air.

To learn more about how our fire injury attorneys can help with a rental house or apartment fire claim, contact Jeffrey Glassman Injury Lawyers at (617) 777-7777 or fill out our online form.

Client Reviews
Choosing Jeffrey Glassman law firm was the best decision I could ever have made. They treated me with complete respect and made me feel protected. Kate Y, Google User
I am so happy that I decided to sign on with Jeffrey Glassman Injury Lawyers. This law firm met all my expectations and more, I would highly recommend them. Anne Nadeau, Google User
I am very happy with the services they provide. Although I hate that I have been in pain since the accident I am very grateful I had someone working so diligently on my side. With so many firms in the area, it's hard to know which one to choose; this is a firm that will definitely put 110% into your case! Julie Tran, Google User
Jeffrey Glassman and his associates were great. They were with me from the beginning to the end and kept me informed throughout the process. I would recommend this law firm. Ann S, Yelp User
I used Jeffrey Glassman Injury Lawyers for a painful and frustrating worker's comp case and had an absolutely fantastic experience. They were attentive, professional, knowledgeable, transparent, and genuinely caring. I can't recommend them highly enough. Anna K, Yelp User