According to Chicago news-radio station WBBM, this week 15 people, including six Chicago firefighters and a Chicago police officer, were injured during an “extra-alarm” fire in an apartment building in the far north side of Chicago’s Edgewater neighborhood.
In general, and for the sake of additional background information, the more serious the incident, the more alarms that are triggered at the fire station. The higher the alarm levels, the more department officials and the more special units will respond. Each multiple alarm level brings additional units to the scene. WBBM reported that the fire started around 11 a.m., and firefighters eventually called a 3-11 alarm, sending 12 fire engines, four fire trucks, and two tower ladder trucks to the scene.
The fire became so out-of-hand that neighbors and nearby pedestrians helped crews put out the fire and rescue residents from the burning building, reported WBBM. Nevertheless, firefighters were able to rescue 14 people using ladders, and another 14 walking down stairwells of the five-story brick building.
Though the source of the fire has not yet been determined, if it is determined that the fire’s cause was a result of the apartment manager’s negligence, the building owners could be on the hook for damages. In cases of injuries that happen on properties managed by others – for instance, apartment buildings – a significant branch of Chicago personal injury law known as Illinois premises liability law allows victims to be compensated if the negligence of the property owner was the cause of that harm. In order to apply to a set of circumstances, premises liability law requires a number of factors to be satisfied: the defendant must be the owner or possessor of the land, or “premises” – in this case, the potential defendants would be the owners of the apartment buildings if their liability caused the fire. Additionally, the person or persons on the land of another must be injured by negligence or a different wrongful act; in this particular situation, the apartment building owners have a duty to maintain the buildings and ensure that they are properly equipped with fire safety supplies.
Illinois premises liability law may be triggered if it can be shown that the property owners or managers either failed to maintain the property, created unsafe conditions that caused the injury, or knew about the unsafe hazard but didn’t alert visitors or tenants to this fact. When an accident or injury occurs to a an individual who – at the time of the injury – is on another person’s property, the owner or manager of the property may be liable if it can be proved that their negligence led to the injury.
Here, most of the persons injured suffered minor harms such as heat exhaustion, though the conditions of all victims has not yet been made public. The injured were taken to different hospitals in the area, including Weiss Memorial Hospital, Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center, and St. Francis Hospital in Evanston.
Our Illinois personal injury lawyers have handled numerous cases and recovered millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements for the families of victims wrongfully injured or killed because of someone else’s negligence. In fact, they obtained a $6.0 million settlement for the families of 6 children who died in a tragic apartment fire on Chicago’s north side because the landlords of the building failed to have proper and working smoke detectors in violation of the Chicago Municipal Code and the children were not able to escape the building in time. Additionally, they earned a $2.3 million Chicago fire injury settlement for two boys who were severely burned in a Chicago Housing Authority apartment fire.
If you or a loved one have been injured on the land of another because of the landowner’s negligence, contact an attorney to discuss your rights under the law. You may be entitled to compensation for your suffering.