By Dr. Chuck Russo, Program Director of Criminal Justice at American Military University and Anthony Galante, Faculty Member, Criminal Justice, AMU
On February 22, a New York City jury awarded $183 million to the families of five of the six firefighters who died or were critically injured in the “Black Sunday” fire. This infamous fire occurred in 2005 when firefighters responded to a burning tenant building to find it had been illegally divided into a maze of apartments. As a result, six firefighters were forced to jump from the fourth floor—two died that day and one died later from his injuries.
The jury found the landlord of the illegally partitioned building is responsible for 20 percent of the damages while the City of New York is responsible for 80 percent (over $140 million) for failing to provide firefighters with personal safety equipment.
The Need for Personal Safety Equipment
The jury found that ropes should have been provided to firefighters, which would have allowed them to safely evacuate the structure, thus minimizing or avoiding the injuries that resulted from jumping.