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Owner of Back Bay Building Files Lawsuit in Fatal Beacon Street Fire

The charred shell of a building is all that remains at 298 Beacon Street in Back Bay. The prestigious address on the tree lined street was once a grand old brownstone nestled in between rows of historic homes and old Boston. The nine alarm blaze quickly tore through the building, fueled by the 50-mile-per-hour winds coming off the nearby Charles River. The eight-unit building was a total loss, but the most tragic consequence of the fire was the deaths of two Boston firefighters who were trapped in the basement. Though no criminal activity was suspected, an investigation was launched, as usual, into the cause of the deadly fire.

The investigation by officials revealed the probable cause to be sparks from a nearby welding site. It is believed that workers were welding part of a safety rail at neighboring 296 Beacon Street when the strong winds carried the sparks into the old building. After learning of the findings, the owner of the destroyed building, listed as the estate of Michael J. Callahan, is suing the owner of 296 Beacon Street, (Oliver Realty LP) the welding company, (D & J Iron Works) and the owner of the welding company (Guiseppe Falcone). The suit was filed by the executer of the estate, Herbert Lerman.

According to WCVB, the suit states:
Lerman is informed and believes that neither Oliver Realty LP nor D & J nor Falcone requested a permit from the City of Boston to perform the welding work…Lerman is informed and believes that neither Oliver Realty LP nor D & J nor Falcone had a firefighter or ‘fire watcher’ present at the site, maintained a fire extinguisher at the site, or placed a fire resistant shield or guard to prevent ignition of combustible construction materials.

In response, a lawyer for the owner of the welding company says that while his client feels great remorse about the situation, he does not accept responsibility for the incident and claims he was not on the scene.

Oliver Realty stated that they had contracted a third party to construct safety railings for their property. A spokeswoman for the realty company, Diana C. Pisciotta told the Boston Globe, “it was the company’s understanding that these railings would be prefabricated offsite.” She ensured that the company planned to conduct its own review.

Neighbors who live near the Malden-based welding company told WHDH that they have noticed the shop seemed deserted after the fire. The signs were taken down and no one seems to be working at the office. “Since the thing happened, they’ve disappeared. They were busy, there were like 8 or 10 guys working in there,” Malden resident Bob Wyeth said.

Grave errors in contractor work are responsible for thousands of injuries and deaths every year, and the pain suffered by victims and their families is only amplified by the fact that the mistakes are completely preventable. If the welding company had pulled a permit; if there had been a fire watcher on the scene, would firefighter Kennedy and Lieutenant Walsh still be alive? Would the residents of 298 Beacon Street still have a home? There’s a good chance the answer is yes, they would. The families are then left to deal with emotional and physical injuries while sustaining a sizeable financial burden in medical bills and lost wages. If you or a loved one has been the victim of a personal injury or wrongful death, Altman & Altman can help. Our dedicated team of Massachusetts Personal Injury Attorneys has decades of experience successful handling personal injury and wrongful death cases. We understand the frustrations and challenges faced by victims and will work every option to ensure your family receives the compensation you deserve.

At the law offices of Altman & Altman, we are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week – including nights and weekends to answer any questions regarding your case. Call us today to schedule a free initial consultation and case evaluation.

Read the full article from WCVB andWHDH