Wooden Hangers

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Q: While fighting a fire in an abandoned public school building, my wife was crushed by the fall of a heavy suspended ceiling.  This building had been constructed before the turn of the century.  The ceiling had been hanging in the building for as long as anyone can remember.

It turns out that the ceiling had been hung from the roof by combustible wooden straps instead of by metal hangers.  Wooden hangers are extremely susceptible to quick collapse in the event of fire.  I say the use of wooden hangers violated good and sound construction practice.

A: Our statutes confer a cause of action upon injured firefighters, and the families of deceased firefighters, against any person or entity causing the injury or death by reason of the violation of any governmental statute, ordinance, code or regulation.

Suppose that a statute requires the use of metal hangers in existing non-fireproof, special occupancy structures, but that it applies only to structures and parts thereof constructed after a certain date.  The statute might well not apply, if this building was very old.

Even if the law was violated, it appears that the defect was a hidden one and could not so readily have been discovered, even by an inspection.  Doubtless the defendant will argue that it was never put on notice of the existence of this defect.

By: Scott Baron,
Attorney at Law Advertorial

The law responds to changed conditions; exceptions and variations abound. Here, the information is general; always seek out competent counsel. This article shall not be construed as legal advice.

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