Ohio Personal Injury Blog by Cincinnati Accident Attorney Anthony Castelli

Archive for the ‘fire injury death’ Category

Fire Kills One In Cincinnati – Could The Right Smoke Detector Made a Difference?

Tuesday, January 8th, 2013

A fire on New Year’s Day 2013 in a house on 2824 Digby Avenue in Cincinnati has caused the death of Chad  Kohls and seriously injured Ellen Garner.

Chad  Kohls and Ellen Garner were sleeping on the third floor when the fire started shortly before 7 AM. The fire began on the second floor. The news reports sourced the Cincinnati fire department as saying the cause of the fire was a space heater placed too close to bedding on the second floor. Garner is still in critical condition.

On one of the news broadcasts the words smoke inhalation were used. It appears that very little damage was done to the house and that the fire was confined to a small area on the second floor. Other people in the house were able to escape without injury. It was stated that the flames were confined to the second floor but smoke went into the third floor described as an attic.


Could Smoke Detectors Made a Difference

In all the news reports that I read or watched no mention was made of smoke detectors. Today 1/13/2013 I saw an article on the interent about the fire that killed Chad Kohls posted by the Fox 19 digital staff.  It stated in part, ”  Crews at the scene told our reporter that there were working smoke detectors in the home.” The article did not say what kind of smoke detectors they were ionic or photoelectric, nor did the article say if they had gone off.

My guess is the smoke detectors did not go off. That’s stating the obvious or Chad Kohls would probably be alive today and Ellen Garner would be fine. So that leads me to believe that these were ionic smoke detectors. Why. Click on this link here and watch this video . It will shock you. It shocked seasoned firefighters. (the rest of this article was previously written, but I thought it was important to amend this post and reemphasize the importance of a photoelectric vs ionic smoke detector)


Smoke detectors are mandatory by city of Cincinnati ordinance. What many people do not know is that there are two types of detectors,  photoelectric and ionic. Ionic are more apt to catch flame and apt not to go off in time when there is smoke. There are known cases where people have died of smoke inhalation and the ionic smoke detector did not go off.

An article by fox 19 is instructive on the issues surrounding smoke detectors, in terms of the efficay of the kind to use. This is totally separate and apart from the obligations for maintenance and care for furnishing and maintaining smoke detectors. The city of Cincinnati does not specify what detector kind should be used. It is apparent from reading the article by Fox 19 that photoelectric smoke detectors are the way to go.

Possibly they would have made a difference. Of course this is pure speculation on my part as the articles and reports I reviewed did not mention anything about the detectors. Hopefully a full investigation will be done and the smoke detectors will be preserved.


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Cincinnati Injury Lawyer Alerts U L Sued For Faulty Smoke Detector Standard

Monday, January 2nd, 2012

As a personal injury lawyer I have represented burn injury victims. The last burn case I had there was an issue of whether there was an adequate smoke detector. What the public does not know is that there are two types of smoke detectors: photoelectric and ionic. The ionic is designed more for flame and the photoelectic will pick up smoke in time for you to depart the premises.

So there could be perfectly good ionic smoke detectors in your house or apartment and they may not go off and you could die in your sleep, especially if the fire was initially mostly smoke. Recently a lawsuit was filed in Alabama that made allegations against underwriters laboratories. Here are some of  the allegations taken from the complaint:

(Negligence or Wantonness of Defendant Underwriters Laboratories, Inc. [“UL”]Plaintiff Latosha Hosford, individually, and as the mother of the minor decedenNevaeh Nichole Johnson, and Plaintiff Chad Barley, allege as follows against Defendant UL

:39. Plaintiffs incorporate by reference all preceding allegations.

40. UL is a corporation which develops safety standards for products and testsproducts for compliance with those standards.

41. In the late 1970′s, UL eliminated its separate ionization-smoke-alarm andphotoelectric-smoke-alarm safety standards and promulgated a single smoke-alarm safety13standard known as UL Standard 217.  The ionization smoke alarms installed in the subjectdwelling were designed, manufactured and sold after UL Standard 217 was promulgated,and complied with UL Standard 217.

42. It was foreseeable to UL that designers, manufacturers and sellers of ionizationsmoke alarms would only design, manufacture or sell ionization smoke alarms that couldpass UL Standard 217 and achieve an independent testing laboratory’s Listing Mark.

43. It was therefore foreseeable to UL that consumers and users of ionizationsmoke alarms could suffer injury or death if UL did not exercise reasonable care in itsformulation and implementation of UL Standard 217.44. Defendants BRK, A, B, C, D, E and F relied upon, or were influenced by, theirionization smoke alarms’ ability to pass UL Standard 217 when they designed, manufacturedand sold those smoke alarms, including the smoke alarms installed in the subject dwelling.

45. If the ionization smoke alarms designed, manufactured and sold by DefendantsBRK, A, B, C, D, E and F, including the ones installed in the subject dwelling, had not passedUL Standard 217, and thereby acquired a Listing Mark, said Defendants would not havedesigned, manufactured or sold said smoke alarms.  Said Defendants would only havedesigned, manufactured or sold smoke alarms that passed UL Standard 217.

46. If UL had exercised reasonable care in the formulation and implementation ofUL Standard 217, with respect to slow smoldering fires, ionization smoke alarms would nothave passed UL Standard 217.  Only photoelectric and combination ionization-photoelectricsmoke alarms would have passed.  Such smoke alarms, if installed in the subject dwelling,would have sounded in a timely manner and thereby prevented the injuries to Plaintiffs andthe death of the minor decedent.

47. Defendant UL was negligent or wanton in one or more of the followingrespects:14a. By modifying the smoldering fire test in UL Standard 217 to eliminatematerials that presented foreseeable challenges to ionization smokealarms.b. By increasing the minimum obscuration levels required for ionizationsmoke alarms to pass UL Standard 217′s smoldering-fire test.c. By failing to formulate and implement safety standards for ionizationsmoke alarms that require ionization smoke alarms to detect slowsmoldering fires in a timely manner and to sound in a timely manner inthe presence of smoke as opposed to flame.d. By formulating and implementing a safety standard that an ionizationsmoke alarm would pass without detecting slow smoldering fires in atimely manner and without sounding in a timely manner in the presenceof smoke as opposed to flame.

48. As a proximate result of said negligence or wantonness, Plaintiffs weredamaged as aforesaid, and the minor decedent Nevaeh Nichole Johnson was killed.

  Fire and Smole Inhalation Claims Are Extremely Complex - A Burn Injury Lawyer Can Help

The importance of preserving ALL the evidence can not be emphasized enough. And it’s just as important to hire an real expert in this area and a personal injury lawyer familiar with fire cases. One only has to recall the beverly hills supper club fire. SOME BELIEVE THE REAL TRUTH IS STILL UNKNOWN

Anthony Castelli Attorney Cincinnati personal injury lawyer welcomes you to call for a free consutation about a fire injury or wrongful death or other personal injury. 513-621-2345

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Another Burn Smoke Inhalation Death in Cincinnati

Thursday, December 22nd, 2011

As a Cincinnati personal injury lawyer  I have become familiar with injury and death from fire and smoke inhalation. I woke this morning to see that a two year old had died in a fire in Westwood, a suberb of Cincinnati, Ohio.

It was hard to tell from the news story in the Cincinnati Enquirer just what had happened. The cause and origin of the fire was unknown. More significantly not one word was mentioned about smoke detectors. The name of the landlord was not disclosed.

From familiarity with other fires I know just how important smoke detectors are.  The public in the main is unaware that there are two types : photoelectric and ionic. The photoelectric has been praised by many as the one that will save lives.

As this was an apartment building, the City of Cincinnati ordinance puts resposibilities on the tenant and the landlord. The landlord needs to have  working smoke detector(s) and the teneant needs to check the battery. There are so many issues in fire cases that there is no way I can cover them all in this article.

Just know that there are two types of smoke detectors and consider getting a photoelectric as these in most cases will provide adequate early warning while the ionic may not even go off. Maybe the child death could have been prevented. Hopefully the Cincinnati fire department will do a thorough investigation and NOT release the smoke detectors to the insurance company.

Father of child fire death


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How to Prevent Christmas Tree Fire Injury

Saturday, November 20th, 2010

Christmas trees account for 250 fires each year. 14 of those involve deaths. You can do a simple thing to prevent most of these fires. WATER THAT CHRISTMAS TREE. Typically shorts in electrical lights or open flames from candles, lighters or matches start tree fires. Water That Tree to prevent a catastrophe.

This video clip demonstrates how fast a dry tree can go up in flames. Within three seconds the dry Christmas tree (a scotch pine) is up in flames. Within 5 seconds smoke and gas are on the ceiling. Fresh air near the floor feeds the fire. Within 40 seconds the sofa carpet and coffee table are up in flames and a flashover occurs with the whole room ablaze.

Wet trees tell a different story. The NIST fire safety engineers selected a green Scotch pine. They had it cut in their presence, , and placed the tree in a stand with at least a 7.6 liter water capacity. The researchers kept the Scotch pine’s water on a daily basis. A single match could not ignite the tree. A second attempt in which an electric current ignited an entire matchbook failed to fire the tree. Finally they applied an open flame to the tree using a propane torch. The branches ignited briefly, but self-extinguished when the researchers removed the torch from the branches. REMEMBER, A WET TREE IS A SAFE TREE!

Christmas tree fire

One final thing. MAKE SURE YOU Check your Smoke Detector. Know that a photelectric senses smoke and an ionic flame. You may want to use both for the best protection.

by Cincinnati Accident injury attorney Anthony Castelli

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