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Apartment Fires: The Common Causes

By Grant Law Office on January 4, 2021

apartment complex completely engulfed in flames

In mid-December, an apartment building in DeKalb County caught fire. The blaze was enormous and more than enough to overwhelm the residents inside. They could hardly breathe and quickly found themselves trapped in their apartments, with no way out except the window. Residents were forced to jump, some of them from the third floor. Many suffered burns, broken bones, and spinal cord injuries. In the end, 18 people were injured in this one fire, including a pregnant woman, a 78-year-old grandmother, and several small children. However, everyone who jumped survived.

The cause of the fire? Still “under investigation.”

A few days later, another apartment complex in DeKalb County – Dunwoody Village Apartments – went up in flames after construction workers seemingly ruptured a gas line while working on an “unrelated project.” Several of the tenants, as well as the construction workers, were injured, and one pregnant woman went into premature labor and was rushed to the hospital as well. Rescuers hurried to the scene to help the victims of this “explosive” fire, which destroyed one building and damaged the one next to it.

This kind of story is sadly common in urban areas with a lot of apartments, due to the simple fact that apartment fires are more common than house fires. While everyone in these recent fires survived, there is no doubt that their road to recovery will be a long and difficult one.

Knowing how these kinds of fires usually start will assist in the determination of who may be at fault and liable for injuries suffered.

How Fires Start

In the above instance of the Dunwoody apartments, the cause of the explosive fire is still under investigation. A fire captain indicated that Atlanta Gas Light was working on a damaged line at the complex before it caught fire. An Atlanta Gas Light representative said the line was damaged by a contracting firm working on an unrelated project.  Was the contracting company responsible? Atlanta Gas Light? Both? An investigation is being conducted to determine the cause of the fire.

According to the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), roughly one-third of all residential fires are in apartments. Further research done by the USFA has found that there are some apartment-fire causes that are far more common than others, and they include:

Defective Heating Units

All apartments are required to have adequate heating to keep residents warm during the colder months of the year. However, a faulty furnace unit can cause an apartment fire.

Improper Wiring

Improper electrical wiring can lead to a major apartment fire. Our law firm is currently handling such a case resulting in serious injury. To escape the fire, our client was forced to jump out of a second-floor window onto the concrete surface below.

When Should I Contact a Lawyer?

There is no denying that an apartment fire is devastating. Those who survive may suffer catastrophic injuries that require intense and costly treatment. This kind of devastation can leave victims in a deep financial hole, with seemingly no way out. However, if your injuries were caused by someone else’s negligence, then you may have options for financial recovery.

When fires are caused by negligence either of a landlord or contractor, they are accountable for their actions. The negligent party or parties, under Georgia law are responsible for both the emotional and physical injuries suffered and are also responsible for payment of past and future medical expenses.

If you are the victim of a serious apartment fire, you should consult with an experienced Atlanta premises liability attorney who can fight for your family. Call Wayne Grant of Grant Law Office at (404) 995-3959 to find out how we may be able to help you. Or, chat online with one of our representatives at

Note: We have constructed this post based on unconfirmed media reports. If you know or have reason to believe that any of the information in this post is incorrect, please let us know so that we can edit the post to render it accurate.

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Posted in: Premises Liability

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