Shantel McCoy was coming home to her 12th floor high-rise apartment when she was blasted by fire and died. She was a young and beautiful Chicago woman who was blasted by smoke, soot and carbon dioxide when her apartment’s elevator doors opened and shortly after died at the scene. This did not have to happen.
If Shantel’s building had been up to code, she would have heard a building-wide alarm when she entered the main lobby and the elevators would have stopped working and not opened with all the smoke. We read the next day along with others in our community that her pre-1975 building is exempt from installing sprinklers.
Her building she lived in wasn’t required to install sprinklers or other safety precautions because of the huge expense, even though that could have saved Shantel’s life. The truth is that sprinklers have only been required for commercial and residential high-rises built since 1975.
Older buildings, however, are mandated to choose from a list of alternative cheaper safety improvements. But here’s the catch: they don’t have to do so until 2015. The Chicago City Council voted in December to further extend the deadline another three years.
Although, this does not necessarily mean these building owners are off this hook if a tragic ordeal like this one occurs. If you or a loved one become seriously injured or even die in a high-rise accident, your family may have grounds for a lawsuit claiming gross negligence.
Illinois Law requires the private and commercial property owners, such as shopping malls, parking lots, walkways, stores, stadiums, high-rise apartment buildings, and supermarkets to provide a safe and secure environment from hazards and defects. Such unsafe conditions can result in so-called “slip-and-fall” accidents, as well as more serious injuries, including paralysis, traumatic brain injury and wrongful death.
Romanucci & Blandin has extensive experience representing individuals who were severely injured or killed from dangerous conditions to a property and also due to serious burns. If you or family members are victims of this type of accident, we want to be your law firm. We can determine quickly whether you have a case.