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Rockdale family loses loved ones after fire

Georgia residents may have heard of a recent fire that took lives of several children. A potential claim for premises liability could arise after a tragic house fire caused four children to die in a duplex. While ownership of the unit is not yet clear based on news reports, a landlord could potentially be held liable for keeping the unit in a dangerous condition because investigators found no working smoke detectors in the property.

The property that was engulfed in flames was a two-story, duplex unit. Investigators did not find any smoke detectors on the upper level where the family lived. Although one smoke detector was on the bottom level, it reportedly did not contain a battery in it. Additionally, there were no sprinklers. The children who died were 9 years old and under, including an 8-month-old baby. Another child and an adult were also injured in the fire. The family consisted of a grandmother, mother and grandchildren.

The mother sustained serious burn injuries. The grandmother was reportedly downstairs and safely escaped the fire. Firefighters located the children, but they could not be revived. Officials are still investigating the matter and have not yet determined the cause of the fire. Investigators have found the point of origin to be in the upstairs bathroom and hallway area. Assistance was requested for the State Fire Marshal.

When a landlord leases an apartment or duplex to an individual or family, he generally has the duty to maintain a safe premises. If a person is injured because the landlord allowed the unit to become a dangerous property, he or she may be able to bring forth a premises liability claim with the assistance of an attorney.

Source: Rockdale News.com, "No working smoke detectors found in Glass house," Michelle Kim, Jan. 10, 2013

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