Boston Firefighter’s Widow Sues Chinese Restaurant for Wrongful Death in Massachusetts

In Massachusetts, the widow of Paul Cahill, one of two Boston firefighters who died while battling a fire at Tai Ho Restaurant last year, is suing the Chinese restaurant for his death and citing premises liability. Also named in the wrongful death lawsuit are the owner of the building and J & B Cleaning.

Plaintiff Anne Cahill alleges that the companies either knew or should have known that grease-build up in a kitchen exhaust pipe could pose a potential fire risk, which could have been prevented. The grease fumes are believed to have caused a fireball on August 29, 2007, killlng Cahill and firefighter Warren Payne and sending 12 other firefighters to local hospitals.

It was an hour after the fire had ignited before firefighters were called to the scene. Fire officials say that there was grease and toxic fumes in an 8-inch space of the restaurant’s ceiling.

J & B Cleaning was contracted to clean the hood cover, stove area, roof fans, and the floor beneath the stove. A company spokesperson says that prior to the fire, the company had last cleaned the areas on June 21 and that the next cleaning was scheduled for September.

The city of Boston was barraged by criticism after the tragic accident because Tai Ho Restaurant had been eight months overdue for an inspection when the fire happened. Six other businesses suffered property damage from the blaze, including the Continental Shoppe, Ferns By Sheila Cobb , and L’Essence Art Gallery.

Although you cannot sue your employer if you were injured on the job, there may be third parties that can be held responsible for your injury accident. If your loved one died in a work accident, you are eligible for death benefits under Massachusetts’ workers’ compensation law.

Property owners and managers must make sure that a premise is safe from hazards that can cause serious injury or death to patrons, residents, visitors, customers, or workers. Failure to exercise this duty of care can lead to personal injury or wrongful death claims if someone is injured or killed as a result.

Firefighter’s widow files lawsuit, Wicked Local, June 13, 2008
Premises Liability, Justia
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