Safety Concerns Spark Fireplace Ban at University of Virginia

Fireplaces have been used in the rooms of the University of Virginia's Academical Village ever since horror writer Edgar Allan Poe broke up his chairs to feed his fire in the 19th century. But the tradition has been snuffed out amid safety fears that they pose a fire risk at the historic campus in Charlottesville, VA.

An inspection of the 106 dorm room fireplaces revealed cracks in the flues and chimneys, leading authorities to fear a large blaze could break out, reported.

See this video about the University of Virginia:

Although it's sad to see a tradition end, a university has a duty to look after its students. Arguably, this was a duty that Virginia Tech failed to meet during the shocking 2007 massacre when it was found that the university failed to issue warnings about the shooter in a timely manner. In the wake of the killings the families of two women killed launched $10 million wrongful death lawsuits.

In an article earlier this year, I wrote how safety fears have increased following recent incidents at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA, where the university has the highest duty to protect students in dorms, particularly those under 18.

University authorities have a duty to protect student against fires that can be caused by a number of factors ranging from faulty wiring to the storage of flammable materials and ageing or blocked chimneys, as in the UVA case.

Our firm's experienced Virginia personal injury attorneys have reported on the large numbers of fires caused by space heaters, as many as 25,000 house fires a year. 
Although we are responsible for what happens in our own homes, if the fire has been caused by a piece of defective equipment the manufacturer may be liable for damages.

In public buildings or hotels, the owners have a duty to ensure appliances are serviced. Earlier this year we reported on a man who died in a hotel blaze in Newport News, VA.

Our firm has helped clients take lawsuits out against hotels. In one case a man who received a deep wound to his hand after a glass carafe shattered at a Marriott hotel, received a $70,000 settlement.


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