Sadly, fire-related tragedies continue to occur in New York City due to the negligence of property owners and landlords. In many cases, these incidents relate to ingresses (entryways) and egresses (exits) from apartments just in case of fire or another emergency.
Surprisingly, many NYC apartment tenants live in buildings that lack proper fire safety practices. Consider the Bronx fire that killed 17 people – including eight children — and injured 60 others in January 2022. With proper and functioning safety measures in place, this tragedy may not have happened.
New York law requires property owners to provide safe ingress and egress
An ingress provides NYC apartment tenants with the safe capacity to enter a unit, while an egress provides them with the ability to safely leave their dwelling. Under state law, property owners must provide safe ingress and egress in the event of an emergency.
There have been cases in which NYC property owners failed to provide safe entries and exits, hindering their tenants and leading to preventable situations and tragedies. For example, some landlords place bars over apartment windows as a security measure to discourage burglars. However, these bars prevent tenants from entering fire escapes.
Details on Bronx fire tragedy
The Bronx fire tragedy from earlier this year exemplifies the negligence of property owners
A malfunctioning electric space heater was the likely source of the blaze in the 19-story structure with 120 units. However, the fire spread quickly due to safety doors that failed to close.
Investigators determined that the building’s front door as well as a door on the 15th floor remained open, but should have been self-closing. The closed doors would have reduced the fire’s spread and contained the smoke. All 17 victims died from smoke inhalation.
Liability falls with property owner
Whether severe burns or respiratory ailments, your fire-related injuries may be the result of the negligence of property owners. They are liable for failing to provide safe entries and exits into your apartment building. In this situation, a skilled attorney with a deep understanding of premises liability can by a trusted ally.