The ability to make and use fire is one of the things that has set the human race apart from other species. We use fire to stay warm, provide light, and cook food. However, fire is strong and when it is out of control it can cause serious injuries or death. When residential fires happen because of human negligence, such as when an apartment is not equipped with working smoke detectors or when a wiring issue causes a home to ignite, our San Francisco fire injury lawyer helps hold those at fault financially accountable.
Home Fire in San Francisco Leaves Man in Critical Condition
Earlier this week, CBS SF reported on a residential fire that left a man in critical condition in San Francisco’s Visitacion Valley. The fire department was called to the first block of Cora Street at 2:10 PM on Tuesday afternoon. Upon arrival, firefighters saw flames and smoke inside a single-family home and there was smoke emanating out of the residence. It was only after they forced their way into the home and began a search that firefighters found a male victim inside. Emergency officials transported the man to the hospital in critical condition.
Firefighters were able to bring the fire under control at about 2:45 PM. Officials described the physical damage from the one-alarm blaze as “extensive.” As of the time of the report, the cause of the fire remained under investigation.
Home Fire Statistics
According to the U.S. Fire Administration (“USFA”), a part of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, 3,240 people died and 15,295 were injured in the United States in 2013 alone. California was one of the top three states for the number of fire deaths that year. While slightly less than a third of all reported fires in the U.S. in 2013 were residential, residential fires were responsible for 76.5% of fire deaths, 78% of fire injuries, and 55% of fire dollar loss. Overall, both figures have trended down since 2004. The USFA reports the leading causes of residential building fires in 2013 include: Cooking (49.4%), Heating (12.9%), Electrical malfunction (6.1%), Unintentional/Careless (5.5%), Open flames (4.6%), and Appliances (4.5%).
Home Fire Safety
The USFA also provides a Fire Safety Checklist for Homeowners and Renters. The document focuses on the following key elements of fire prevention:
- Smoke Alarms – Working smoke alarms should be on all floors of a residence and in all sleeping areas. They should be tested monthly, batteries should be changed as needed, and fire alarms should be no more than 10 years old.
- Cooking Safety – Items that can burn should be kept out of cooking areas. People should stay in the cooking are when boiling, frying, grilling, or broiling food and all pot handles should be turned in towards the back of the stove.
- Escape Plan – Have an escape plan and have everyone who lives in the home practice it at least twice a year. Be sure to plan two ways out of every room and establish a safe meeting place outside the home to gather after escape.
- Carbon Monoxide Alarms – There should be carbon monoxide alarms on every level of all residential structures and the alarms should be no more than 7 years old.
- Electrical and Appliance Safety – Ensure all electrical cords are in condition and are not cut or frayed. Make sure all electrical outlets are in safe working condition and do not get warm with use. Additionally, clean the dryer’s lint trap after every use.
- Candle Safety – Candles should be kept in sturdy fireproof containers that will not tip over and should be kept away from children and pets. Adults should blow out all candles before leaving the room or when going to sleep.
Remember: The USFA warns that you may have fewer than three minutes to escape a residential fire so you must be prepared.
Accountability and Compensation: Our Northern California Home Fire Law Firm
Sometimes fire is simply an unfortunate, terrible accident. However, other times fire is the result of negligence. Parties that may be at fault in residential fires include property owners, landlords, construction companies, commercial goods manufacturers, and home repair workers. If fire leaves you or a family member injured or if fire claims a life, you owe it to yourself and your family to find out if a person or entity was to blame.
When fire strikes homes in Northern California, our San Francisco residential fire law firm can determine the cause and hold those responsible accountable. We help fire victims get the compensation they need to move forward after tragedy. A consultation is always free and most injury and wrongful deaths cases are handled on a contingency fee so there is no charge unless you recover compensation.
See Related Blog Posts:
Residential Fires: Causes and Forms of Injury
Oakland Apartment Fire Lawyer Looks at Residential Fire Statistics Following Deadly Blaze
(Image by Ben Schumin)