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Shapiro & Appleton

Man Dies in Fire at Norfolk, VA Cleaning Business

A fire at a Norfolk, Virginia (VA), cleaning business that claimed the life of a 25-year-old man leaves plenty of unanswered questions about who is to blame.

The blaze broke out in a business on Campostella Road on the morning of October 5, 2011, the Virginian-Pilot reported. Firefighters entered a warehouse building and battled thick smoke and flames inside the building, according to the Pilot Investigators, and  found a tent-like structure. Authorities are considering the possibility that people were living or sleeping in the structure.

View Larger Map of the site of the fire

Our thoughts are with the family of the victim in this terrible incident. As experienced Virginia personal injury attorneys, my colleagues and I have seen a number of fatal fires in cities such as Norfolk, Suffolk, Chesapeake, Portsmouth and Virginia Beach, VA.

This case also raises liability issues. In a case where people are sleeping in industrial premises, the owners could face a wrongful death lawsuit. The cause of this fire is not yet known, but warehouses are generally not suitable places to sleep because they can contain a number of hazardous substances and lack some of the safety features of hotels or apartments.

The need to safeguard residents against a fire risk was recently illustrated at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, VA, when the authorities banned students from using fireplaces in historic rooms after an inspection found problems such as cracks in the chimneys.

The duty of an employer to protect employees from fires, was recently illustrated by a $27 million settlement made by a power company to the family of a man who died in a cage in a burning smoke stack in West Virginia (VW) along with two other workers who were trapped.

Alternatively, if defective equipment has caused a fire a manufacturer could be liable. Our experienced Virginia personal injury attorneys have reported on the considerable numbers of fires caused by space heaters, as many as 25,000 house fires a year. Even in our own homes, if the fire has been caused by a piece of defective equipment the manufacturer may be liable for damages.

Richard N. Shapiro
Personal Injury & Wrongful Death Lawyer Serving Va Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake & all of Virginia
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