A candle that was knocked over caused a fire that consumed a wooden boarding house where dozens of poverty-stricken boys lived. In the terror of the blaze, about 50 residents rushed for the door and neighbors tried to extinguish it by throwing buckets of water on it. There were 41 survivors; eight of the nine who died were children. Official reports from Senegal, where the fire occurred, indicate that the structure had not been inspected.
The threat of fire knows no national boundaries. Yesterday, the joy of Christmas turned into tragedy for the loved ones of a 69-year-old woman who lived near Conroe after she was killed by a fire in her mobile home. It appears she died of smoke inhalation. The cause of the fire has not been determined, but officials report no working smoke detectors.
And, last week, here in Harris County, the house of an elderly man caught fire. Fortunately, he was rescued by neighbors; he and his three dogs survived.
These news accounts remind us that building fires pose life-threatening risks. It is therefore essential that authorities create building codes that embody standards motivated by safety, not profits for construction companies or landlords. It is equally essential that a sufficient number of trained inspectors be hired and empowered to inspect the buildings in which people work, dine, attend school, and gather. Responsible landlords must also do their share: they should maintain working smoke detectors and verify the safety of their properties. The risk of fire can and should be reduced.
If you or someone you know have been injured in a fire as a result of another’s negligence, contact the attorneys at Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner by calling 713-396-3964 or 800-594-4884.