House fires, building fires, and other structure fires are one of the leading causes of injury in the United States. More than 15,000 injuries and 3,200 deaths were reported in the United States by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) in a recent survey. Many of these fires are the result of negligence and requires complex litigation to determine who is responsible.
In a recent ranking, Missouri came in with the 11th highest fire death rate nationwide. A nursing home fire in 1957 was the deadliest structure fire in Missouri since 1899, causing 72 people to lose their lives. Fires in crowded places like nursing homes, apartment buildings and houses often result in the most tragic situations.
Following any type of fire related injury, it is important a detailed investigation occurs immediately. The fire which caused the injury generally consumes a great deal of the surrounding evidence required to prove who was at fault. Experts need to investigate the scene before everything is removed. Our fire lawyers will make sure you have the right experts involved in the investigation immediately after the incident.
Common Examples of Fire Negligence
While there are countless examples of fires started by the negligent conduct of another, some of the most common injury producing fire negligence cases include:
- Electrical Fires: Improper wiring in homes, apartment buildings, and workplaces is responsible for countless fire related injuries and deaths.
- Smoke Detectors: Landlords of apartment buildings and work places all too often fail to ensure their smoke detectors are in good working order, failing to notify residents of danger.
- Car Fires: Car fires are often the result of improper wiring, vehicle design or an auto accident, subjecting unsuspecting occupants to harm.
- Space Heater Fires: These fires are often the result of negligent design and/or manufactures failing to warn of known dangers associated with the use of their product.
- Appliances and Equipment Fires: The causes of equipment and appliance fires range from improper installation and wiring, to negligent design.
- Fireworks: Fireworks are responsible for a large number of house fires and injuries, often as the result of negligent supervision or use of the explosive.
- Power Strips: Power strips are great when you need to plug more than two items into a single outlet. Unfortunately, they can overload and spark more easily than many people realize.
Other common causes of fires include lighting, arson, candles, and holiday decorations.
NFPA Fire Statistics
The Nation Fire Protection Association regularly releases some pretty startling fire statistics. The sheer number of people who suffered a total loss of their home, injury, or death due to house fires is astounding. In a recent survey, the NFPA released the following statistics:
Total Number of Reported Fires
- 1,345,500 fires reported
- 3,28 civilian deaths reported
- 15,700 civilian injuries reported
- $14.3 billion in property damage reported
- 501,500 structure fires reported
- 2,685 civilian deaths
- 13,000 civilian injuries
- $10.3 billion in property damage
- 204,500 vehicle fires reported
- 500 civilian deaths
- 1,875 civilian injuries
- $1.8 billion in property damage
Outside or “Other” Fires
- 639,500 outside fires reported
- 95 civilian deaths
- 825 civilian injuries
- $252 million in property damage
More Startling Fire Statistics
A home fire or building fire was reported once every 86 seconds. That’s a home or building destroyed less than every minute and a half. One civilian fire injury was reported every 34 minutes. Every 34 minutes someone was injured by a fire in 2015. One civilian death was reported every two hours and 40 minutes. One outside or “other” fire reported every 52 seconds. And one highway vehicle fire was reported every three minutes and one second.
Common Types of Fire Related Injuries
Burns are the most common type of fire injury. The severity of the fire burn is classified in degrees, such as:
- First Degree Burn: The least damaging of all burn types, a first degree burn is similar to a sunburn. The top layer of skin turns red and is generally fully healed within a few days.
- Second Degree Burn: Deeper than a first degree burn, the second degree burn extends to the lower layers of the skin. Bacterial infection and cellulitis are risks with second degree burns.
- Third Degree Burn: The skin is badly burned and charred through all layers. It has a dry, leathery appearance and is usually painless due to nerve damage. Third degree burns cannot heal naturally and must be removed. Skin grafts are used to replace damaged skin.
- Fourth Degree Burn: Muscle and tissue damage are present in addition to the skin being completely incinerated through all layers. Severe nerve damage is present, and the injured person’s life is at risk.
Respiratory injuries are also common fire related injuries. They range from oxygen-depleted air to breathing hot gases or smoke. Here is more information about respiratory injuries:
- Carbon Monoxide Poisoning: Fire burns the oxygen out of the home leaving behind nitrogen, carbon monoxide, and carbon dioxide. The result is often carbon monoxide poisoning. Carbon monoxide bonds to the hemoglobin in the blood, making it difficult to revive the injured person.
- Hot Gases: Nasal passages and the lungs can take serious damage from breathing in hot gases. The lungs may become permanently scarred, resulting in disabling lung problems.
- Smoke Inhalation: Smoke is a combination of carbon particles, ash, volatile organic compounds and other gases. The respiratory system can suffer very serious, permanent damage. Smoke inhalation can cause seizures, coma, and death.
Investigating Fault and Receiving Compensation After a Fire
In order to determine who was at fault for a fire, an investigation needs to be conducted immediately. The Dixon Injury Firm will help bring in all experts needed to ensure a full and proper fire investigation occurs immediately after the incident. Leaving a detailed fire investigation up to the insurance company for the property owner will almost always result in a finding that the fire was the result of natural causes, an act of god, or any other excuse needed to avoid responsibility.
The Dixon Injury Firm has extensive experience helping injury victims and the families of those wrongfully killed. Our trial lawyers will ensure every aspect of your fire case is fully investigated and fight to ensure you receive full reimbursement for your harms and losses. Call today for a FREE CONSULTATION at (314) 409-7060.