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Negligent property owners may face liability

Georgia residents will be interested to hear that twelve people, including four firefighters, were recently injured in New York City building explosion and fire, according to the Associated Press. Although the cause of the explosion was unknown at the time, first responders reported that the first floor of the Chinatown building partially collapsed as a result of the explosion. News source later reported that the blast was a natural gas explosion, possibly caused by a broken gas line.

The five-story building housed both commercial and residential spaces, with apartments on the upper floors. According to one resident, the noise from the blast sounded like a bomb or an earthquake. The resident witnessed firefighters carrying a female with a severe leg injury from the building. Three of the victims were reportedly in area hospitals in critical condition. None of those were firefighters. Various news sources reported multiple injuries. According to one source, most of the serious injuries occurred on the second and third floors of the building. One paper also reported that the building had existing code violations which are being investigated. No specific violations were cited.

Under Georgia premises liability laws, property owners owe a duty to persons on their property to keep the premises reasonably safe and to repair or remove dangerous conditions. Persons who are injured as a result of negligent maintenance or hazardous conditions at unsafe premises may have a legal claim against the owner of the property. Property owners may be liable to victims for damages such as medical and pharmaceutical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages incurred. Seeking the advice of an experienced personal injury attorney may assist victims in determining their rights and recovering damages through legal remedies available to them through the court system.

Source: USA Today, "12 hurt in NYC building explosion, fire", Natalie DiBlasio and Michael Winter, July 11, 2013

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