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Worcester Building that Collapsed During Fire, Killing One Firefighter and Injuring Another, May Have Been Poorly Maintained

Jean S. Mui, who is the landlord of the Worcester apartment building that burned down during a three-alarm fire on Thursday, is expected in court tomorrow. Mui faces allegations that the building, at 49 Arlington St., was in violation of 30 building and sanitary codes.

Building inspectors had identified the multiple violations before this week’s blaze, which caused the structure to partially collapse. Firefighter Jon Davies was killed in the Worcester fire. Another firefighter, Brian Carroll, suffered injuries.

The two men got trapped when the back of the building caved. They were trying to rescue a missing tenant, who has still not been found.

According to neighbors, recently arson fires have been occurring in the area.

If Worcester premises liability was a factor in causing the building fire and collapse, the firefighters and their families may have grounds for suing Mui for damages. Property owners can be held accountable in civil court or arbitration if a hazard on the premise that could/should have been remedied causes someone to get hurt or die in an accident.

The three-decker on Arlington Street has also been the focus of eight city inspections and three housing complaints in the last year. There were reportedly structural defects in the building’s foundation that weren’t fixed even though months had passed since a city order was put out requiring that the repairs be made. Code violations include those for illegal heaters and rodents.

Workers injured or killed on the job are usually entitled to benefits from their employer’s insurer. This, however, does not preclude them from obtaining Worcester wrongful death or personal injury recovery.

Worcester fire landlord faces code citations, Boston Herald, December 11, 2011
Worcester firefighter dies in blaze, AP/Sentinel and Enterprise, December 9, 2011

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