When the remnants of Hurricane Ida rolled through New York last week, they took a heavy toll: 46 lives, with six people still missing as of September 3rd. Of those deaths, 25 were in New Jersey, 16 in New York, four occurred in Pennsylvania, and Connecticut saw a single fatality, according to the New York Times. The majority of New York City’s 13 deaths occurred in basement apartments, spurring Mayor Bill de Blasio to announce that in advance of future potential flooding events, city workers “would go door-to-door in neighborhoods with high concentrations of such apartments and evacuate residents.” That announcement, of course, came too late for the victims of last week’s tragic flash floods, many of whom found themselves trapped as the waters rose. Continue reading
A month after one of New York’s deadliest fires in a quarter-century killed 13 people, the survivors and their families have sued the city. Eleven of the victims are seeking a combined $110 million from the Administration for Child Services Department (ACS) alleging that the mother of the child was known to the city’s welfare agency for her neglectful parenting, according to court documents. The victims allege that because the welfare agency knew of the mother’s subpar parenting skills, they should have taken steps to either remove the child from the mother or otherwise protect the residents of their building.
On December 27, 2017, a three-year-old child was playing with the fire that came off the stove-top burner when the deadly fire supposedly erupted. According to the lawsuit, the child began playing with the knobs on the stove in the kitchen after his mother left him and his two-year-old sibling to watch TV while she took a shower. According to authorities, the mother said this was not the first time her son had played with the stove. Continue reading
A mishap in a New York City high school’s science lab ended up sending four students to the hospital. St. Catharine Academy, an all-girls Catholic school in the Bronx, said that an experienced chemistry teacher was performing an experiment to teach students how an atom “goes from ground state to excited state,” according to the New York Times.
The president of the school, Sister Patricia Wolf, played down the incident, saying “The flame got a little larger than was anticipated, and several students who were near the flame were singed.” According to Sister Wolf, all the injuries were minor and students were mostly “singed” on their hands and possibly their neck.
On May 31, five firefighters were injured after a home in White Plains, New York caught on fire. The two-story home, on Milford Drive, caught on fire at 3:47 A.M – the same time that their fire alarm system alerted emergency services. While the family fled the home safely, about 20 firefighters responded to the incident, which had started in the basement and spread to the first and second floor of the home by the time the firefighters had arrived. Unfortunately, one firefighter was inside of the building when the first floor (and consequently, the second floor) collapsed. The four firefighters that helped removed their immobilized co-firefighter were also injured in the fire. On whether anything suspicious could have caused the fire, Wilson Plains Fire Chief Richard Lyman said, “We don’t rule anything out” – adding that “[The house] is going to need quite a bit of renovation. It’s going to need quite a bit of work.”
Under New York Law, specifically General Municipal Law Sections 205-a, firefighters have some legal protection in the event that they may be injured while “on the job.” This is a rather distinct departure from traditional treatment of firefighters (and police officers, for that matter.) Formerly, firefighters were to have assumed the risks inherent in the performance of their duties – solely by choosing to take on that occupation. Therefore, under the old rules in New York – it would have been very difficult to petition the court for any compensation from damages suffered while in the performance of a firefighter’s duties.
Since 1996, however; the so-called “Firefighter’s Rule” has been somewhat weakened by the New York State Legislature. Now, a firefighter may sue private defendants, and private defendants only – meaning, basically, that a firefighter cannot sue his fire department (in a similar vein, a police officer cannot sue his police station.)