Dancing in the Dark: When Premises Liability Becomes an Issue

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The innocent revelers who were nearly killed in a terrible nightclub fire are finally finding some small degree of closure after a Washington judge has accepted a guilty plea from the man who started the blaze. Musab Mohammed Masmari doused a staircase with gasoline, then lit it on fire, on New Year’s Eve in 2013. Mass panic ensued as the clubbers hurried from the burning building.

Thankfully, unlike the Station Fire or the infamous Gulliver’s nightclub fire, no one was killed. But dozens of people were injured, both physically and mentally, during the conflagration. Many victims of such events have recurring nightmares for years and suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, in addition to the damage done to lungs from inhaling large quantities of smoke.

It is important whenever we go out to a club or any other social setting to be aware of our surroundings and put safety first. Not all nightclub owners are diligent in their safety inspections, and you cannot completely trust management to have secured the premises. Whenever you’re in an unfamiliar location, don’t get so wrapped up in the fun. Some pointers include:

  • Identify all the fire exits.
  • Leave if the place becomes unsafely crowded.
  • Watch how much you drink so you don’t become so impaired you lose your awareness of your surroundings.
  • Use a buddy system, staying close to at least one friend you can trust.
  • Don’t ignore strange smells, especially the smell of smoke.

Fires aren’t the only danger at clubs, movie theaters, and other social gathering places. If you or someone you love has been involved in an accident such as a fire, and is suffering either physically or emotionally, a competent Manhattan attorney can help you investigate whether any negligence took place.