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Boston fire fatalities could lead to wrongful death charges

The unexpected and violent loss of human life always brings questions about what led to the death and whether it was avoidable.A recent fire in a Boston residence that killed two firefighters and left many others injured is a good example of the quest to find both a cause and a responsible party if there is one. According to fire investigators, welders working without a permit on a metal railing behind a Beacon Street structure apparently started the blaze when welding sparks were blown by heavy winds into a wooden structure. The blaze quickly grew and triggered a nine-alarm call to area fire companies.Investigators also say that the welding company did not seem to have a permit for the job and did not post a fire detail to prevent a fire; this is often required when workers are cutting metal on a construction site.Both the welders and the realty company cannot face criminal charges even if investigators determine they were at fault because Massachusetts does not have a criminal wrongful death statute for traffic accidents. They could, however, face charges of wrongful death and negligence if a civil suit is pursued by relatives of the firefighters who died.The realty company later issued a statement expressing its understanding that all welding work was supposed to be done off-site.The accident has led to calls for the state legislature to enact criminal statutes that would address similar circumstances.If the families pursue wrongful death suits against any party deemed responsible for the fire by way of negligence, they could be compensated for lost income and the victims’ pain and suffering. Surviving family members should consult as soon as possible with an experienced legal professional who can address these issues and determine the best course of action. Source: Boston Herald, “Legal experts eye potential for civil suits“, Bob McGovern, April 5, 2014

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