There’s a saying that says if something is worth doing, it is worth doing right. Unfortunately, this was not the sentiment applied to one apartment building in Oakland, California which served as “transitional” housing for 100 people in the city. A recent fire broke out early in the morning, destroying the belongings of the occupants, and killing at least 3 people. Other residents managed to escape through fire escapes, and firefighters helped at least another 15 people get out.
Ignored Regulations Lead to Lost Lives and Injuries
The tragedy was plenty big, but it could have been worse. Many of the standard protections against fire and general safety were not in place in the building. Individual apartments did not have smoke detectors, and the building was not equipped with fire extinguishers, sprinklers, or alarms. It was also reported that before the fire there were several complaints of severe pest infestations in the building.
The incident shines further light on issues with Oakland properties that are not properly cared for as it came about four months after another fatal fire at a warehouse dubbed the “Ghost Ship” about five miles from the apartment complex. That fire took 36 lives who were attending a concert.
In both incidents, there is potential for lawsuits that fall under premise liability. The building owners, landlords, and even the police and fire departments may potentially share the responsibility of both fires, due to allowing inhabitants in buildings that were not safe. Fire department inspection programs had failed, and multiple parties did not do enough to protect residents, although they knew that many were living in illegal housing.
While major fires like these two in Oakland leave many of us shaking our heads, the truth is that code violations and unsafe conditions that lead to less catastrophic outcomes don’t necessarily make the papers or the news. Many of these cause injuries to occupants in varying degrees of severity, and these incidents need justice as well regardless of where they happen.
Protecting Yourself Against Unsafe Conditions
If you’ve been injured due to conditions on a property that is not properly maintained, a premises liability lawsuit may be an option for you to get the compensation you need to restore your life as much as possible. Contact a personal injury attorney to discuss your circumstances and possible options.