According to a recent report from The San Diego Union-Tribune, a student at UC San Diego suffered critical burn injuries in a fire at an apartment complex traditionally housing transfer students to the university. When home fires start in an apartment complex, many apartments can be at risk of sustaining fire and smoke-related damage, while residents in other apartments, too, can be at risk of suffering serious burn injuries. How often do fires and burn injuries impact college students and other young adults? What can we do to prevent injuries related to house fires?
Details of the Fire Near UC San Diego
As the report explains, the fire in this instance was relatively small, but the student involved did suffer critical burn injuries. The fire began at around 1:25 p.m., and it began in a ninth-floor apartment at The Village at Torrey Pines. On the La Jolla campus, this is an apartment complex where transfer students typically reside. Currently, investigators suspect that the injured student set the fire herself. What do investigators know thus far? Some type of flammable liquid served as an accelerant and played a role in setting the fire.
The injured student was “rushed to the burn center at UC San Diego Health,” according to a spokesperson for San Diego Fire-Rescue. No other students were injured, and it did not appear that the fire had spread beyond the student’s apartment. Once San Diego Fire-Rescue appeared, however, the thirteen-floor building was evacuated to ensure the safety of all residents. Other living in the building at the time of the incident did not see any signs of a nearby fire or smell any smoke. In total, the fire caused around $1,000 in damage to the apartment complex, not including the contents of the student’s residence.
Getting the Facts About House Fires and Burn Injuries in California
How often do California residents suffer burn injuries that require medical treatment? According to a fact sheet from the American Burn Association, each year about 486,000 Americans visit emergency departments or other healthcare facilities to receive treatment for burn-related injuries. About 40,000 of those people have burns that are severe enough to require hospitalization, while about 30,000 require specialized treatment in burn centers. In terms of fatal injuries, the American Burn Association estimates that nearly 3,000 people suffer deadly injuries each year as a result of residential fires. More than 300 people sustain fatal injuries in vehicle crash fires. In total, 3,275 people died as a result of fire or smoke inhalation injuries in 2014 alone.
What can we do to prevent house fires? An article from U.S. News & World Report lists the following as important preventive measures when it comes to fires that begin at home:
- Stay near your stove or oven anytime you are cooking;
- Ensure that your space heaters have sufficient clear space around them (at least three feet);
- Do not smoke cigarettes indoors;
- Regularly check your electrical cords to ensure that they are not worn out, and replace any worn cords; and
- Switch to battery-operated candles instead of candles using an open flame.
If you or someone you love recently suffered burn injuries, you may be able to file a claim for compensation. An experienced San Diego burn injury lawyer can help. Contact the Walton Law Firm to learn more about the ways we can assist with your case.
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(image courtesy of Tony Webster)