Apartment life has its benefits. You can come home from work and not have to worry about mowing the lawn or making home improvements. When something breaks, you can call your landlord or put in a work order for a repair. Your apartment may have amenities like a pool or playground, or it may be close enough to parks and shopping that you can walk.
One factor you may not think about until it is too late is whether the owner of your apartment building has prepared for the potential that a fire will break out. A fire in a multi-unit dwelling can be terrifying, and if your landlord does not have emergency plans in place, a fire can be tragic.
Finding the source of the fire
The greatest risk of fire comes from your neighbors. In fact, the U.S. Fire Administration reports that about half of all fires in residential buildings result from accidents in the kitchen while cooking. If your neighbor leaves the stove unattended while food is cooking, especially when frying with grease or oil, a fire can quickly get out of control before anyone notices. Other ways in which tenants may cause fires include:
- Careless use of space heaters
- Candles or other open flames
- Fires related to smoking, such as unextinguished cigarettes in the trash or smoking in bed
- Children playing with matches or lighters that adults failed to secure
Of course, even if a mishap occurs in another unit, the owner of your building should always have safety in mind. A landlord may be found negligent if injuries occur during an apartment fire under these circumstances or others:
- Smoke detectors that are too old or not regularly inspected
- Chimneys and heating units that do not receive inspections or maintenance
- In-unit appliances that malfunction
- Failure to provide fire extinguishers that meet Texas codes
- Exits that have inadequate doors or clutter blocking their access
If you have suffered injuries or the tragic loss of a loved one in an apartment fire, you can see that there may be numerous factors to consider when trying to determine who may be liable for your suffering. Even if the fire originated in an individual unit, your property owner may hold some responsibility if you had no warning, no safe method of escape or no options for containing the blaze. You may find it beneficial to reach out for advice on how to fight for your legal rights.