Those residing on the third floor were forced to jump out of the windows, and five people were reportedly injured. Some of the injuries included a sprained ankle and a fractured back as well as smoke inhalation. The 22-year-old female student also jumped out of the window to try to escape the file, but firefighters found her body just a few feet from the window. Ninety-nine percent of the woman’s body was burned, but the official cause of death was determined to be smoke inhalation.
The woman’s family is now filing suit against the landlord, claiming that the building was not in compliance with the fire codes because there were not two ways out of the third floor. The building was originally set up so that those on the third floor could exit down the stairs or out a sliding glass door onto a deck, but the room with the deck was reportedly made into another bedroom. The landlord maintains that the building was in compliance.
While what happens with this case remains to be seen, Massachusetts landlords do have the responsibility to ensure that their buildings are in compliance with all building and fire codes to prevent entrapment in case of a fire. Those who have been injured as a result of an unsafe premises ordangerous property may have legal options to seek compensation.
Source: The Boston Globe, “Family of BU student killed in fire prepares lawsuit” Jenn Abelson, Aug. 20, 2014