A Southampton Town vacation home was cited for 29 separate safety violations after a fire broke out in the home and killed two sisters. The owners of the home were accused of making illegal renovations and alterations to their home, and for failing to maintain safety measures like smoke or carbon monoxide detectors. This, according to officials, may have contributed to the outbreak of the fatal fire.
What Happened in This Case?
A family was staying at the vacation home, which they rented out from the owners of the residence. While staying there, it is believed a fire broke out in the outdoor kitchen, which subsequently spread to the rest of the house. Two sisters, aged 21 and 19, were killed in the fire, although their parents and 23-year old brother were able to escape. In the brother’s case, he managed to get out only by escaping from a window in the second story of the residence.
Why Did This Happen?
The exact cause of the fire is currently unknown. However, an inspection of the residence uncovered no less than 29 safety violations, which were the result of allegedly illegal renovations and modifications. These included smoke detectors that were disconnected and without batteries, as well as a lack of carbon monoxide detectors. There were also a number of other electrical and plumbing violations, and the owners allegedly failed to obtain a permit for the outdoor kitchen or undergo a safety inspection before the fire.
What Happened to the Owners?
Both owners of the home are facing additional legal troubles for the safety violations, as the matter has been referred to the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office. At minimum, they are facing charges of operating an illegal rental, which carries a fine of between $150 and $1500 and a penalty of up to 15 days in jail.
How Might This Have Been Avoided?
Fire code requirements, including the need for smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors, are no joke. If you fail to comply with safety requirements, or perform modifications on your home without compliance with the fire code, you could place yourself and your loved ones at a higher risk of being harmed in a fire. That is why you should always make sure to take steps to keep your residence in compliance, and consult with a licensed contractor on what renovations you can make to protect yourself and your family, including the need for egress windows for finished basements.
If you are interested in getting your building up to code, or have any other construction or renovation issues, please give Clearview Construction a call at 631-913-8441 or visit our contact page.