Could the death from this apartment fire have been prevented and are justice and compensation available to the victim’s family. Read Our Legal Take below to find out what legal options are available.
A fire engulfed a Charlestown, Indiana apartment building early Thursday morning, October 31, 2019, leaving one woman dead and three other families displaced.
According to WDRB.com, “The Charlestown Fire Department was called to…Apartments on Maple Drive about 5:30 a.m. on Thursday.”
Firefighters arrived at the apartment building that holds four units and found one apartment engulfed in flames.
NewsandTribune.com is reporting, “[t]hree families were evacuated from the building, partly due to neighbors and first responders knocking on doors and yelling to wake them up at the early morning hour.”
According to the report, “firefighters searched each of the four units; in one, they found a woman who had succumbed to the fire.”
NewsandTribune.com identified the deceased woman as “57-year-old Jill Whitlatch.”
The Indiana State Fire Marshal, Charlestown Fire and Police Departments are investigating the cause of the fire according to the media reports.
Our Legal Take
As the state fire marshal continues its investigation, premises liability attorneys with The Murray Law Firm question whether a lack of fire safety measures at the complex may have contributed to this incident.
- What fire safety measures, such as working smoke detectors, fire sprinklers and emergency exits, were in place and working at the time of the fire?
- When was the last fire inspection performed on the property?
- Were any safety measures added after any previous inspections?
- Was the property owner aware of any inadequate fire safety measures present prior to the fire?
As details of this fire continue to emerge, The Murray Law Firm suggests that it is possible that the apartment complex failed to undertake proper safety measures to protect those residents and guests legally on the premises. Under certain State law, the owner and management company of an apartment complex have a duty to protect residents and to keep the premises safe. If the owner or manager fails in this duty, they may be held civilly liable for any injuries or wrongful deaths that occur as a consequence. Should the apartment complex be found at fault, the family of Jill Whitlatch may elect to hold the owner and management company civilly liable for their loss and suffering. Financial recovery for such a claim could be substantial.
As insurance companies and unscrupulous property owners are often more concerned with limiting their financial exposure in these incidents, it is crucial that the victims retain an experienced premises liability firm as soon as possible to ensure all evidence, such as a faulty fire alarm or a poor evacuation plan, is preserved and the the family’s best interests are protected. The Murray Law Firm has extensive experience in premises liability and apartment negligence cases, such as this, and we offer our legal expertise, if needed.
If anyone has information to share, or if anyone is seeking information regarding this incident, please contact us at 888.842.1616.
The Murray Law Firm has obtained over $100 million dollars for its Clients, and recently secured a $29.25 million dollar verdict for a victim of an unsafe property.
We represent our Clients on a contingency agreement, which generally means that no fees or payments are owed until and unless we recover. Anyone seeking further information or legal representation is encouraged to contact us via e-mail (click here) or by telephone at CALL NOW: 888.842.1616. Consultations are free and confidential.