Building owners are responsible for maintaining the structure and keeping it in good repair in order to help ensure the security and safety of all tenants who occupy the building. If grave injury is caused because of unsafe conditions, the owner may be held liable for damages. A building in New York City's Chinatown exploded recently after a beauty salon that occupied the first floor put out pest control foggers. At least nine people suffered a personal injury, with four in critical condition.
The incident occurred after a woman at the salon put out 24 bug bombs. It is believed that the aerosol from one of the bug bomb canisters came into contact with a pilot light, setting off the explosion. Part of the first floor collapsed in the blast.
At the time of the explosion, the building was subdivided illegally and had been plumbed and connected to gas lines illegally. Inspectors noticed that exits on all but the first floor were obstructed by partitions. The building owner was issued violations for these findings. According to reports, she has had a history of violations with this building.
As those who were injured in this explosion work toward recovery, they may have mounting medical expenses. Under New York law, they have the right to seek recourse for their pain and suffering through a personal injury suit. If they successfully litigate a claim, they may be awarded compensation that can help them pay off their medical bills and focus on their physical and emotional recovery. A claim of this nature may also act as a punitive measure to prevent any cases of premises liability on the part of the building owner in the future.
Source: New York Post, "Chinatown building blasted apart by 'bug bombs' violated subdivision rules, used illegal gas and plumbing lines," Jeane MacIntosh and Larry Celona, July 12, 2013