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NYC couple sues landlord after apartment fire kills dog

An Upper East Side couple has filed suit against their landlord in Manhattan Supreme Court after their apartment started on fire and their beloved pet was killed. The lawsuit alleges that the fire started as a result of faulty wiring in their first-floor apartment.

Apparently, the couple was at work when the fire started in July of 2012, and though neighbors reported smoke, the building's superintendent reportedly ignored the warnings for nearly 45 minutes while repainting another unit in the apartment building.

By the time the building's superintendent finally checked on the apartment, it was too late to save the couple's terrier, who was killed in the fire. Additionally, more than $100,000 worth of belongings were destroyed in the fire, the couple alleges.

The couple filed suit against the their building's superintendent, management company and owners, seeking an unspecified amount of damages.

Apartment building owners have a duty to ensure that apartments are free from hazards like faulty wiring. Not only that, the property superintendents they hire have a duty to protect the apartments they are overseeing from damage.

This is a tragic example of what happens when landlords and the people they hire breach their duties to their tenants. Luckily, no humans were killed in this apartment fire, but losing a beloved pet and belongings is traumatic in its own right.

As such a large percentage of New York City residents live in apartment buildings, it's extremely important that landlords take the laws and their duties seriously. Lawsuits like these remind landlords that they will face consequences if they fail to abide by a certain standard of care.

Source: Daily News, "Dog left by superintendent to burn in NYC apartment fire, lawsuit claims," Andy Mai, Barbara Ross and Stephen Rex Brown, July 17, 2013

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