Bronx Space Heater Fire & Portable Heating Accidents
The Lyon Firm investigates a wide variety of product liability cases, including space heater defects and portable heater fires on behalf of victims nationwide. The recent Bronx space heater fire killed 17 residents, in yet another preventable consumer accident.
The recent Bronx space heater fire underscores the continuing safety issues that have only worsened in magnitude in the last 30 years. Consumer safety is still overlooked when space heater companies quickly put their dangerous products to market. Instead of properly designing and testing safe portable heaters, many companies only do so after an accident occurs.
The January Bronx space heater fire at Twin Parks North West is thought to have been caused directly by a malfunctioning electric space heater on the third floor. As in many lower-income housing units, the building did have working heat so space heaters have been regularly used to supplement heating issues.
The front door of the burning apartment did not close automatically, which has been required under New York law ever since an apartment building fire in the Bronx that killed 12 people. Apartment doors that close on their own help contain the spread of fire and smoke.
Landlord negligence is also being investigated in the Bronx space heater fire as many residents reported that false smoke alarms often sounded throughout in the building with people ignoring them.
Federal fire safety regulators and the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) have opened an investigation into whether a specific product defect was to blame for the Bronx space heater fire.
Space Heater Fire Risk
The serious fire risk from portable heaters is not new, yet the problem is persistent, and safety regulators struggle to monitor every defective portable heater that is sold to US consumers. More stringent safety standards have also failed to prevent accidents like the Bronx space heater fire.
In fact, every year, portable heaters are the cause of hundreds of residential fire and dozens of consumer deaths. While safety features like automatic tip-over switches are now required on portable electric and kerosene heaters, portable heater fires are still common.