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Apartment fire may lead to premises liability claims

Just how many apartment buildings are there in Atlanta? Hundreds of complexes fill the city. Each of them must meet certain safety requirements in order to keep residents and others legally on the property from harm. This includes ensuring that any fire suppression or containment equipment remains in good working order. Failing to do so not only risks lives, but also risks premises liability claims.

This may be an issue in a devastating apartment fire that recently took place in another state. Early reports regarding the origin of the fire trace it to a child playing with a stove's burners. The family lived on the first floor, and at approximately 7 p.m. on a recent Thursday night, the fire broke out in that apartment.

The family fled without closing the front door, which enabled the fire to move quickly through the building. Several people lost their lives and suffered injuries. In this particular New York apartment building, the doors on each unit should swing closed on their own as a way to contain fire. It appears that failed in this instance. It may never be known how many lives would have been saved had the door functioned properly.

This is one example of a situation in which an apartment owner or manager could face premises liability claims in the aftermath of similar tragedies. Atlanta residents injured under these types of circumstances, or their families if they perished, may receive restitution for their financial losses if the evidence presented to the court proves negligence occurred. This may not make up for any serious injuries or loss of life, but it could help victims and/or their families recoup damages.

Source: NBC News, "Police identify remaining 7 victims in deadly Bronx apartment fire", Phil Helsel, Dec. 31, 2017

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