Aggregating data is often a great way to find where problems exist. While individual incidences do not always attract much attention, when the numbers are compiled what might appear at first as a small problem is revealed to be a large one. This is the case with house fire deaths in the state of New York.
According to those aggregated numbers, New York has the second highest incidence of death by house fire per capita in the United States. It would be expected New York would have an elevated number of total house fire-related deaths, as the larger population lends itself to larger numbers. But the high per capita rate is more surprising.
Determining why the rate is elevated could be difficult, but possibilities include:
- A lack of proper fire alarms, particularly in rental houses and other rental properties
- Older construction relying on outdated codes lacking fire breaks and other safety features
- Older construction lacking proper fire exits in the event of an emergency
In many cases, landlords are responsible for ensuring the proper installation of fire alarms, and should be evaluating their properties for safe fire exits. The city can enforce existing code during remodels, but many property owners choose not to remodel to avoid having to bring things up to code, or will not pull the permit so the city is unaware of the remodel taking place.
If you or someone you love has suffered due to a property fire, and the landlord or owner of the building failed to provide proper fire alarms or exits, please consider reaching out to a qualified attorney. Until property owners and landlords are held responsible for their actions, the rate of fire-related death in New York will remain too high.