5-Year-Old Dies Due to Smoke Alarm Failure; $1.6M Settlement Reached

On February 23, 2015, Kai-Lynn McMullin, then 5-years-old, died. It was two days after she was caught in a fire that caused second and third degree burns that covered more than a third of her face and body. Kai-Lynn’s mother, Tiffanie Burcham, filed suit and alleged her daughter’s death was preventable.

Ms. Burcham alleged that the smoke detector in her Independence duplex was defective, and as a result, Ms. Burcham could not rescue her daughter. She filed suit against the property and its owners and claimed they failed to maintain or repair the smoke detectors. She also claimed the property owners violated protection regulations in the City of Independence. Ms. Burcham and her boyfriend had moved into the duplex the day before the fire.

Kai-Lynn was sitting on a sofa in the living room when the fire started. Neighbors broke a front window to pull her out of the duplex. Heavy smoke and fire prevented Ms. Burcham from being able to get to Kai-Lynn. She exited through a back window.

Other children have died in homes with defective smoke detectors. In April, a 2-year-old died in a house that caught on fire. In that case, no working smoke detectors were found. In June 2018, five children died when their home caught on fire. Again, no smoke detectors were found.

When someone is injured or dies in an accident, financial recovery may be available. Such recovery is particularly important when permanent, life changing injuries are incurred. It is important to contact someone who understands the intricacies of the injured party’s right to recover.

Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner offers a free consultation to anyone wishing to pursue a claim for such injuries or fatalities. Contact an attorney at our office by calling (713) 222-7211 or toll free at 713-222-7211.