There have already been several fires reported in the Ottawa area this year. When a person suffers injuries in a fire resulting from another person’s negligence, that person is entitled to claim damages for his/her losses, including pain and suffering and loss of income if they were unable to work as a result of injuries from the fire. Individuals who have disability insurance with their employer or private insurance may claim disability benefits for injuries resulting from the fire. In the most serious case, a fire can result in fatal injuries and under these circumstances, loved ones are entitled to make a wrongful death claim against a negligent party.
Even when loved ones escape a fire with no loss of life, the substantial property loss is itself often devastating. Below are several fire related incidents that were reported in the Ottawa area, early in the new year.
At 1089 Cummings Ave, a family was displaced when a house fire raged out of control on January 2, 2016. Firefighters were called to the scene and fortunately, no injuries were reported.
Arson was suspected at Johnny’s Auto Sales at 1550 Michael Street, Ottawa when the business was set aflame the first week in January. Ottawa police were informed of two individuals loitering in the vicinity of the building at the time of the fire and are investigating the incident.
In mid January a fire began in a home and claimed the life of a family pet. The primary resident of the house along with her three children were able to escape without injury and firefighters believe that the fire started in the basement. Damages were estimated at around $150,000.00.
Gatineau firefighters were called to the scene of a fire at 328 Hétu that left six residents temporarily homeless. One of them suffered minor injuries while attempting to put the fire out, but the other residents were unharmed.
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) notes that many fatalities from fires do not happen as a result of burns, as one might expect, but rather, from smoke inhalation. In the home, there are many highly flammable materials and substances that can fuel a fire, causing excessive smoke that can render a person unconscious before they are able to escape. This smoke is made up of vapors, particles and highly toxic gases (such as carbon monoxide, hydrogen cyanide and phosgene) which can cause irritation to the eyes and throat, pulmonary edema and even death.
In addition to the emission of deadly smoke, fires can also deplete oxygen levels in the air by replacing oxygen with the aforementioned gases. This is highly damaging to the respiratory tract and can cause death within minutes.
Many fires in Ontario occur within the home. You can protect yourself and loved ones from fire and associated injuries by being informed of potential dangers and taking precautions accordingly. Below are a few common causes of house fires.
Cooking: Grease splatters from cooking can easily be ignited into an engulfing fire. It is important to be attentive to cooking equipment when in use as well as keeping highly combustible objects such as oven mitts and paper products away from open flames and other sources of heat.
Smoking: Careless disposal of lit cigarettes is another way in which fires are easily ignited in the bedroom or living-room, most commonly, when someone falls asleep or passes out from intoxication. Using a deep ashtray placed on a surface with no combustible materials is a way in which you can prevent these types of fires.
Electrical Appliances: Whatever the appliance — toaster, lamp, refrigerator– ensure that the electrical cords are not frayed, outlets aren’t overloaded and wires are not under heavy furniture or rugs. A simple spark can be the catalyst to an uncontrollable inferno. Lint should also be regularly removed from clothes dryers, as this is another common source of fires and appliances such as curling irons should never be left on and unattended. As a general rule, appliances that generate heat should be kept away from other objects, particularly flammable materials. This includes electric heaters, fireplaces, light bulbs, and much more.
Candles: Candles should never be left unattended and should always be extinguished before leaving a room.
Children: Children can sometimes have an unhealthy fascination with fires. Their curiosity with creating a flame or setting something on fire can lead to catastrophe. Ensure that matches, lighters, burners and other potentially dangerous objects are stored out of sight, and discuss the potential dangers of fire with your children as soon as they are old enough to understand.
Fires can cause terrible destruction when they get out of control, which can happen quickly if combustible materials are ignited. In March 2011, a tragic fire in a Woodstock apartment building caused a devastating explosion that resulted in the death of two residents. The fire also robbed a hundred more residents of their homes, some of whom suffered serious injuries as well. The fire began after pieces of plastic were melted in the dryer and released extremely flammable vapour or liquid pentane.
In 2013, the loved ones of the two deceased accident victims initiated a claim for $5.5 million in damages against the companies responsible for the manufacturing, installing and leasing of the gas-powered clothes dryer and also against two residents alleged to have placed the combustible material in the dryer. The widow of one of the deceased individuals was also seriously injured and sought damages for her injuries.
The personal injury lawyers at Burn Tucker Lachaîne focus solely on personal injury and are therefore highly knowledgeable and experienced in representing accident victims whose injuries result from another person’s negligence in all types of accidents including fires. We also specialize in injury insurance claims and disability claims, and in resolving disputes with insurance companies for owed compensation.
Call us today if you or someone you love was injured in any type of accident. Allow us to assess your case with a free initial consultation, and provide you with the information you need to make a sound decision.
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