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Motley Rice attorneys actively litigate complex fire cases involving personal injury and wrongful death. We represent residents, first responders, employees, consumers, travelers and other members of the public who have been permanently harmed in catastrophic fires and explosions. Our catastrophic injury attorneys have handled litigation related to hotel fires, transportation fires, industrial and commercial fires, vacation rental fires, and post-accident fires in planes and motor vehicles.
Additionally, we have been actively involved in fire, explosion and burn injury cases concerning:
Depending on individual case facts and state laws, landowners, property managers, and, in some situations, business suppliers, may be held responsible for failing to maintain safe conditions or comply with standards. These cases frequently involve factors such as sprinklers, smoke alarms, fire escapes and the inappropriate storage of flammable materials in residential buildings and homes, workplace structures such as office buildings, manufacturing plants or refineries, or public areas.
Although product liability laws vary by state, some statutes may allow fire victims and their families to seek recovery of damages from manufacturers, distributors or vendors of products that are unsafe or defective, as well as for a company's failure to warn of product dangers and risks.
We have the experience and resources necessary to conduct and review fire investigations and to identify the possible legal responsibilities of the involved parties. Along with fighting for your rights and for just compensation for injuries sustained, we also strive to encourage changes in safety standards that may prevent similar tragedies from occurring in the future.
Outdoor gel firepots or firelites—popular as entertainment fixtures for their warm lighting and insect-fighting citronella options—have been known to explode, resulting in property damage and severe injuries, including second and third degree burns.
Following a series of burn injury and explosion reports to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) starting in April 2010, the CPSC issued a recall of the gel used in firepots in June 2011 and provided a warning to consumers about the dangers of Napa firepots.
Some of the gel for firepots, including those manufactured and sold to retailers by NAPA Home and Garden and BirdBrain, Inc., were comprised of more than 90% ethyl alcohol, a volatile and highly flammable liquid with vapors denser than that of propane. Some of the reports of severe burns involved people whose skin and clothing were covered with the flammable gel following a firepot explosion, making it difficult to put out the flames and injuring not only the person on fire but also the person trying to extinguish the flames.
The Motley Rice catastrophic injury team has successfully represented many victims injured as a result of firepot explosions and continues to fight for the manufacturers and retailers responsible to be held accountable for the devastating damage that has been caused.
On June 18, 2007, a tragic furniture store fire claimed the lives of nine firefighters – the most lost in a single event since the 9/11 attacks. Motley Rice attorneys served as lead counsel for families of the “Fallen Nine,” obtaining a significant settlement, in addition to pushing for safety reforms that were made within the fire department.
On June 9, 2009, a Slim Jim factory owned by ConAgra in Garner, N.C., exploded, injuring dozens of workers and killing four. Motley Rice attorneys represented the family of one of the deceased as well as several injured workers against ConAgra and additional defendants, alleging, among other things, that the defendants were negligent in installing a new water heater at the plant and allowing the natural gas line intended to fuel the new heater to be discharged into the factory. ConAgra ultimately settled with the plaintiffs for $3.7 million and the North Carolina Department of Labor later found the ConAgra plant responsible for 27 workplace violations.
Some space heaters may contain defects and when operated may cause damaging fires leading to serious injuries and potential fatalities. Motley Rice attorneys are reviewing potential cases involving these and other similar instances.
Motley Rice attorneys continue to review potential cases involving gas cans that do not have “flame arrestor” shields at the mouth of the container. The lack of these shields may cause gasoline vapors to ignite outside of the container and travel inward, causing injurious flashback explosions. Serious, permanent injuries, including burns or even fatalities, have occurred in some cases.