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We read in the paper all too often about children killed in a house or apartment fire. They are especially vulnerable because they are often sleeping in rooms separate from the adults in the family. When a parent is suddenly wakened in the middle of the night by heat, flames, or smoke it is often too late to get to the child’s room. These types of deaths can often be prevented. Unfortunately, a recent fire in Cincinnati killed two firefighters.

Many older homes and apartments are used as rental property. These homes and apartments may be expensive to maintain and, as a result, become run down. Ceiling and drywall holes are a common problem. The more rundown a dwelling, the more susceptible to fire it becomes. Landlords in Ohio are required by law to comply with all building codes that materially affect health and safety. Landlords must maintain electrical, plumbing, heating, and ventilating fixtures in good and safe working order. Nobody should be living in substandard, unsafe rental property. Working smoke detectors provide important protection in case of fire. Landlords who fail to provide smoke detectors should be held accountable. Ohio’s wrongful death law provides a legal remedy to family members who lose a loved one in a tragic fire. It is very important to hire an investigator and/or attorney to inspect the premises before it is changed or exposed to the elements.

A few simple steps can help avert a tragedy. If you have exposed or worn wiring, make your landlord fix it. If you don’t have working smoke detectors, make your landlord provide them. If your landlord has a basement full of junk, like paint and gasoline near the furnace, make them move it out. Finally, be sure you discuss a fire escape plan for your children so they can act quickly even if you aren’t able to get to them.

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