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Illinois Fire, Explosion and Electrical Accident Attorneys

The rapid and profound effect that a fire, explosion or electrical accident can have on a family is difficult to describe. One moment, one spark, can take everything a family owns, cause serious injury and possibly result in death.

With an office in downtown Chicago, the lawyers at the Lamber Goodnow team and our partner firms work with families whose lives have been torn apart by tragedies like this, and we work to help make them as whole as possible while they rebuild their lives.

Fires are far too common and their effects can be disastrous. In addition to the loss of property, fires can also be deadly. According to CDC data, 380 people have died in Cook County fires since the year 2000 – and that doesn’t begin to cover the traumatic burns and other injuries that changed lives forever. 

Here’s What You Should Know About Fires, Explosions and Electrical Accidents

Are there special duties of care that hotels owe guests involving fire?

Yes.  In Illinois, the operation of a hotel providing sleeping quarters for guests, imposes upon their owner or operator a duty of care to take reasonable measures to prevent the outbreak of fire on the premises.[1] Additionally, a hotel owes a duty to attempt to contain and distinguish a fire,[2] train personnel to have knowledge of working fire extinguishers,[3] to promptly call the fire department,[4] a duty to warn guests of a fire,[5]and a duty to maintain adequate fire escapes or exits.[6]

If my city or town does not have a fire department are they liable for my injuries if I have a fire at my house?

No.  Under the Tort Immunity Act pertaining to fire protection, a municipality is not liable for injury to a particular citizen resulting from failure to supply general fire protection services.[7]

However, there is an exception to the rule if the municipality has a special duty to protect a particular individual.[8]  To establish a special duty, it must be demonstrated that: “(1) the municipality was uniquely aware of the particular danger or risk to which the individual was exposed; (2) the municipality was responsible for specific acts or omissions with respect to that danger; (3) these specific acts or omissions were either affirmative or willful in nature; and (4) the injury occurred while the individual was under the direct and immediate control of employees or agents of the municipality.”[9]

Contact our law firm today at (312) 757-777. Speak with a lawyer right away — before speaking with any auto insurance provider if possible. Other steps you can take now!

If I am injured at my home because local firefighters cannot suppress or contain the fire are the firefighters liable?

No.  Under the Tort Immunity Act, neither a local public entity that has undertaken to provide fire protection service nor any of its employees is liable for an injury resulting from the failure to suppress or contain a fire or from the failure to provide or maintain sufficient personnel, equipment, or other fire protection facilities. 745 Ill. Comp. Stat. 10/5-102.

If I am injured at my home because fire district firefighters cannot suppress or contain the fire are the firefighters liable?

No.  The Tort Immunity Act applies to both persons employed in fire districts as well as municipalities.  Additionally, Illinois law states that a firefighter that works for a fire district shall not be liable in damages for any injury to the person caused by him or her in performance of their duties as a firefighter, unless such injury was willful and wanton, which only applies to a district firefighters operation of a vehicle. 740 Ill. Comp. Stat. 75/1.

If a firefighter dies or is injured when fighting a fire at my home am I liable?

Illinois law states that a firefighter is an invitee (person doing business on the premises) and an action may lie against the landowner for failure to exercise reasonable care in the maintenance of their property resulting in the injury or death of a firefighter that is rightfully on the property, fighting fire where they are supposed to be.[10]

However, while a landowner may be responsible to maintain their property as to prevent injury to a firefighter from a cause independent of a fire, the landowner is not liable for negligence in causing the fire itself.[11]  A firefighter’s job is to fight fires, so they assume the risk associated with firefighting.[12]

If firefighters are not liable for my injuries caused by a fire who is?

A fire may have been caused by the negligence of someone that was in your home, and a homeowner may file a lawsuit against the negligent party to recover damages.  Some fires are caused by natural disasters such as tornadoes or lightening.  Generally, most homeowners insurance has fire protection in their policy to cover fires started by natural disasters.  Additionally, a defective product may have started a fire, and the manufacturer of the product may be liable under a product liability suit.

If a city or town permits blasting work on their streets and I am injured who is liable?

The municipality may be liable for your personal injuries.  Because blasting and the use of explosives are known as dangerous work, a municipality will be liable for any injuries of people near a construction site as a result of explosives, even if the city contracted with a private contractor.[13]

If a loved one or myself have been injured in an electrical accident who may be liable?

If the placement of electrical wires is above a public area, the local public entity, as well as the power company responsible for the wires themselves, are charged with a duty to provide safe airspace and may be liable for negligence if this is not done.[14]  Additionally, if you are injured by a defective product’s electrical wires the seller or manufacturer of the product may be liable under a product liability claim.

Our Process

After a fire, explosion or similar incident, our team will coordinate with a team of experts. Medical professionals help assess your injuries, prognosis and future care needs. Insurance experts will analyze your policy, the policies of any liable parties and more. Our engineering experts will look over the scene of the accident to make assessments of causation. And our legal team will prepare an extensive case on your behalf – addressing not just your physical injuries and the damage done to property, but also its impact on your life.

Tragedies like these are often about more than a lost property. Fatalities result from fires and explosions, which means your attorney needs to be competent to vigorously fight for your family in a wrongful death case. Our established team, along with our nationally regarded experts, is prepared to fight for you in every aspect of your case.

In some cases, our team may reconstruct the fire or explosion – tracing what remains back to what ignited the first spark. We’ll not only determine what happened, we’ll also be able to pinpoint exactly what went wrong, which parties were responsible, and what they could have done to prevent the accident.

Simply put, we and our partner firms are not intimidated by insurance companies. Our decades-long track record shows how successful we are in taking on insurance companies. If an insurer, or another responsible third-party, isn’t willing to provide you a sufficient settlement or payout, we’re more than prepared to take your case to trial. Our goal is to secure the maximum compensation that you deserve. 

Fires and Explosions at Your Workplace

If you’ve been injured in a fire or explosion at your workplace, you have rights – and it’s imperative that you seek the counsel of an attorney. Accidents that occur at a workplace are typically covered through workers’ compensation. But at times, there could be additional liable parties such as vendors, contractors or manufacturers.

If you’ve been in an explosion or fire on the job, make sure you have a lawyer to help you explore all of your options. 

Consultation with One of Our Attorneys

The first step in knowing your rights is to have a no-obligation consultation with one of our attorneys or one of our Chicago partner firms. Whether the fire or explosion took place at your home or at your place of business, it’s important to talk to someone so you can understand all the options available to you.

Talking to one of our attorneys costs nothing, and you’re under no obligation to hire us. We’ll answer your questions – ask a few of our own – and give you an idea of how your case might proceed. And if you decide to hire us, you’ll pay nothing out-of-pocket. We call this our No-Fee Promise. It means that we only will get paid if we obtain a favorable settlement or verdict for you.

To schedule a no-obligation consultation with one of our lawyers, call (312) 757-7777, 24/7.


[1]  Jurney v. Lubeznik, (1966, 1st Dist.) 72 Ill. App 2d 117, 218 N.E.2d 799.

[2]  Darby v. Checker Co., (1972, 1st Dist.) 6 Ill. App 3d 188, 285 N.E.2d 217, 60 A.LR.3d 1208.

[3]  Id.

[4]  Coukoulis v. Schwartz, (1938) 297 Ill. App 377, 17 N.E.2d 601.

[5]  Darby v. Checker Co., (1972, 1st Dist.) 6 Ill. App 3d 188, 285 N.E.2d 217, 60 A.L.R.3d 1208.

[6]  Id.

[7]  Huey v. Cicero, (1968) 41 Ill. 2d 361, 243 N.E.2d 214.

[8]  Id.

[9]  Hernandez v. Cicero, (1986, 1st Dist.) 151 Ill. App 3d 170, 104 Ill. Dec 566, 502 N.E.2d 1266.

[10] Dini v. Naiditch, (1960) 20 Ill. 2d 406, 170 N.E.2d 881, A.L.R.2d 1184.

[11]  Washington v. Atlantic Richfield Co., (1976) 66 Ill. 2d 103, 5 Ill. Dec 143, 361 N.E.2d 282.

[12]  Id.

[13]  Baker v. S.A. Healy Co., (1939) 302 Ill. App 634, 24 N.E.2d 228.

[14]  Nelson v. Commonwealth Edison Co., (1984, 2nd Dist.) 124 Ill. App 3d 655, 80 Ill. Dec 401, 465 N.E.2d 513.