Firm Operations Continue Uninterrupted During the Coronavirus. Click for More Information ›
Gair, Gair, Conason, Rubinowitz, Bloom, Hershenhorn, Steigman & Mackauf is a New York Plaintiff's personal injury law firm specializing in automobile accidents, construction accidents, medical malpractice, products liability, police misconduct and all types of New York personal injury litigation.

Articles Posted in Explosion and Fire Accidents

Published on:

Burn Injury victim Alonzo YanesThis week, in an unusual decision, New York State Supreme Court Justice Alexander Tisch upheld a jury verdict for  $60 million. Our partners New York personal injury attorneys Ben Rubinowitz and Richard Steigman tried the case before Justice Tisch last July. See Prior Blog. This is one of the largest awards for  pain and suffering ever affirmed by a trial court in New York State.

The case was one that sparked national attention. A 10th grade student, Alonzo Yanes, was severely burned in his 10th grade chemistry class due to the negligence of his teacher Anna Poole and the New York City Board of Education.  The teacher, who had been performing the “rainbow experiment,” failed to take necessary safety precautions to protect the students in her class. In the experiment the teacher was using methanol, a highly flammable substance, and failed to ensure that the students were kept at a safe distance from the demonstration table, failed to provide goggles to the students, failed to ensure there was a fire blanket was in the classroom and conducted the experiment in a classroom which did not have proper ventilation or showers.

Alonzo was burned alive. As the teacher poured the methanol from a gallon jug into a beaker a large  fireball erupted and coated this young student with millions of droplets of burning methanol. Alonzo was screaming in agony —  but because there was no protective equipment in the classroom and no shower or fire blanket he kept burning while a teacher from another classroom finally entered the classroom with a fire blanket to smother the flames.

Published on:

location of the fire accidentAn overloaded power strip might have been the cause of a gigantic fire in a New York City residential building that caused 4 people to be critically injured. The fire occurred early last Friday around 12:15 am in a residential building located on 35th Ave near Rowan Street in Flushing, Queens, NYC.  When the firefighters arrived they were able to pull a 9 year old girl, a 24 year old woman, a 32 year old woman and a 56 year old woman from their bedrooms. They were all unconscious and required CPR. All 4 were rushed to the hospital with critical injuries. The young girl suffered smoke inhalation while the 3 women were treated for burn injuries and smoke inhalation. The firefighter also saved a small hamster that is now in the hands of the Animal Care Center of New York City.  Four fire fighters also suffered minor injuries while combating the fire and were also brought to the hospital to be treated.

According to preliminary investigations by the FDNY Fire Marshals, the inferno started on the first floor and might have been caused by a bad power strip to which an air conditioning unit was plugged into

Multiple extension cords plugged in with multiple devices might have overload the outlet and sparked the fire that quickly propagated to the entire two story building. The fire marshals didn’t mention if smoke alarms were installed in the apartments or not. In New York, the law requires that all apartments be equipped  with smoke alarms. They might not have been installed or might not have been working proprely.  Someone was seen on video throwing something at the home and investigators determined it was a good Samaritan trying to alert people inside that their house was on fire.

Published on:

FDNY-twit22 people were injured in a fire that erupted in a high-rise in Manhattan.
The fire started around 2 AM on Tuesday on the 24th floor of a 41 story building located on E. 72nd St.

CLOSING THE DOOR COULD HAVE PREVENTED MANY INJURIES

Published on:

burn injuries suffered by Claudette in the botched chemistry experiment18 year old Claudette Joseph and another female student suffered severe burn injuries in a botched chemistry experiment that occurred in October 2018 at the Morris Academy for Collaborative Studies High School for Violin and Dance located in the Bronx, NYC. Our partner Jeffrey Bloom is representing Claudette and recently filed a lawsuit on her behalf.

Claudette was burned in an accident similar to the one suffered by Alonso Yanes, another client from our firm who was represented by Ben Rubionowitz ( read more about this personal injury case). She was part of a group of students attending a so-called “Carbon Snake Experiment”. The experiment consists in burning sugar and baking soda together. As the sugar and the baking soda burn and decompose, carbon dioxide gets trapped within the carbon and creates gas pockets that extend longer and longer like a black snake. Students were gathered around Eric Broussard, the teacher  to look at the experiment. Despite a recent CSB_Back_to_School_Safety_Alert  asking chemistry teachers to use only small quantities of flammable chemicals during experiments, the teacher used a bottle of rubbing alcohol for the experiment. Vapors came out of the opened bottle and ignited in a fireball that severely burned Claudette and another student on their face, torso and hands.

Both students were rushed to the hospital to be treated. Claudette suffered second degrees burns that have left her with permanent scars. The young woman who is an accomplished violonist  is still traumatized by the horrific accident. “This has been extremely traumatic for her and her family,” Jeffrey Bloom told The Post. “Every time she sees these scars, she is reminded of what happened that day.”

Published on:

New York Burn injury lawyers Ben Rubinowitz and Richard SteigmanOur New York personal injury attorneys, Ben Rubinowitz and Richard Steigman obtained a record setting $59 million verdict for a former High School student who suffered catastrophic burns during a botched chemistry demonstration.

Alonzo Yanes was awarded $29,585,000 for past pain and suffering and $29,585,000 for future pain and suffering after a four week trial that spelled out the importance of keeping kids safe at school.

The negligent teacher brought a gallon container of methanol in the classroom

Published on:

4 children and two adults died in a fire accident in New York early wednesday. The fire broke out a little after 1:30 am in the apartment where 45 year old Andrea Pollidore was living with her stepson 32 year old Matt Abdularauph and her 4 young children, 3 year old Elijah, 6 year old Brooklyn, 8 year old Andre and 11 year old Nakaira. Located on the fifth floor of the Frederick E. Samuel Houses at Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd. and W. 142nd St, the 3 bedroom apartment was completely destroyed by the flames. The fire started from the kitchen burning stove that was left unattended. No fire alarm went on and the fire spread quickly to the entire apartment while the family was asleep. When they woke up it was too late. They were trapped in their rooms and couldn’t access the door or the fire escape anymore.  When the firefighters arrived flames were pouring out of five windows of the apartment.  When they reached the two rear rooms they found the six occupants dead.

This accident is one of the most deadly New York fire accidents. A candlelight vigil was held in front of the building. Mayor de Blasio was on the site as well and said the entire city was saddened by the tragedy. The family were beloved members of the community. According to friends and family, Pollidore was a wonderful single mother and a nurse who loved her children and would give her life for them.

NYCHA said a new smoke alarm was installed in the apartment in 2017 but the firefighters couldn’t find it and tenants testified that they didn’t hear any alarm. When the FDNY checked the apartments near the one that burned all of them had relatively new and working detectors. Investigators will have to find out why there were none recovered in the apartment.

Published on:

1 building super and 5 firefighters were injured in a manhole explosion in New York. The incident happened Wednsday morning on East 32nd Street between Fifth Avenue and Madison Avenue in the Flatiron district. According to the FDNY, a pair of smoking manholes led to gas build-up and resulting explosion in a cellar of 6 East 32nd Street.  According to residents, heavy smoke started to come out of two manholes a little before 10:00 am. An hour later one of them exploded. People in the neighborhood said the explosion was really loud then the electricity went off in the nearest buildings.

High level of carbon monoxide recorded

After Con Ed emergency crews and firefighters arrived at the scene of the accident, they evacuated three buildings as they found high levels of carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide levels were also checked in several other buildings nearby. Electric power was cut in the area. Traffic was shut down on East 32nd Street and East 33rd street between Sixth Avenue and Madison Avenue.

Published on:

When  the temperature goes down in New York City the risk of fire accidents increases.

Several people were injured during this long cold weekend in fires that erupted all over New York.

On Saturday morning around 10:00 am 7 people including one resident and 6 firefighters were injured in a five-alarm fire that destroyed a building located on Atlantic Avenue between New Jersey Avenue and Vermont Street in the Brooklyn neighborhood  of Cypress Hills. The cause of the fire is still under investigation. It started in a store in the first floor and then spread to residential floors above. 20 residents had to be evacuated. One of them was injured. Among the six firefighters injured many of them suffered frost bite injuries. 13 people lost their homes.

Published on:

Thankfully nobody was injured in a Manhattan gas explosion. An electrical malfunction in a Con Edison transformer caused a carbon monoxide leak in a building located on 2465 Broadway between 91st and 92nd Street in the Upper West Side. The leak started around 4:00 pm and was discovered when the alarm of the Equinox gym located in the building went on.  90 people including clients at Equinox and three other businesses as well as 15 tenants were swiftly evacuated before an explosion shattered the windows of the building. Witnesses said they saw a big orange flash followed by the explosion. Glass and debris flew across Broadway. People living in the area felt their apartments shake. Animals at next door Petco were all safe as well.

The firefighters thought the alarms had been triggered by a smoking transformer inside the Equinox Gym basement but then they detected high levels of carbon monoxide and found that a carbon monoxide leak from defective ConEd equipment under the sidewalk. The gas and electricity were shut off on the block. Yesterday morning the gas was still turned off as investigators were still figuring out what happened.

It was fortunate that everybody could be evacuated before the explosion occurred. Carbon monoxide gas leak are extremely dangerous and very easy to ignite.  Any spark caused by even a telephone ringing or a light switch being turned on can trigger an explosion.

Published on:

Five people were injured in a manhole explosion in the Bronx, NYC, last Friday night. A manhole located on Saint Ann’s Avenue near East 156th Street exploded under a parked car. 3 civilians and 2 police officers were injured by flying debris during the explosion. The civilians were treated at the scene of the accident while the two police officers were transported to the hospital to be treated.

Con Edison crews were still making repairs yesterday working to fix underground wires in a narrow area of  Saint Ann’s Avenue.

Manhole explosions can be very dangerous in a busy city like New York. In such explosion the cast iron cover that can weight between 85 and 300 pounds is sometimes propelled into the air from 1 foot to 50 feet depending on the intensity of the explosion. Manhole explosions often occur during the spring because all the salt used to make the roads safer is corroding the underground cables. However other factors such as aging, overload or rat biting can also damage the cables insulation. When the cable insulation is damaged, wires start to touch each others creating heat to the point that the insulation catches on fire and releases gas. The pressure from the gas then builds up inside the manhole. The defective electrical wires can then ignite the gas and cause a potential explosion.