Why Do Mobile Home Fires Kill?

On average 22,000 fires occur in mobile homes annually, killing 500 people and injuring 1,000. Approximately 11 million people live in mobile homes. Fire death rates for mobile homes are twice those in other dwelling types. Young children account for 20% of deaths from these fires. Electrical and heating equipment are the leading cause of these fires. [mobile home stats 2003 file here] Mobile Home Stats 2003

The smaller compartment of the typical mobile home shortens escape time in the event of fire, making early notification and quick egress critical to saving lives. Fires where upholstered furniture or mattresses are ignited initially often lead to serious injury and loss of life as these polyurethane foam filled products accelerate fire growth quickly in the small compartment of a mobile home, making it a virtual pitch black, toxic, smoke and heat chamber from which escape is all but impossible.

Legal claims for injury and wrongful death can be brought against manufacturers of mobile home for construction defects which cause fires, cause fires to spread quickly, and for defects which prevent early notification of a fire and quick egress following notification. Some are defects relating to:

  • smoke detectors
  • egress doors and windows
  • interior wall and ceiling covering materials (flame spread)
  • plastic tub/shower fixtures (flame spread)
  • draftstops (prevent vertical movement of smoke to attics and beyond)
  • appliances and electrical

All mobile homes made after 1976 must comply with federal construction safety standards [24 CFR 3280] ( www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_99/24cfr3280_99.html) and a violation of these can assist in placing blame for fire related injuries with the maker of the mobile home. Often issues of upholstered furniture and mattress flammability are involved with mobile home construction defects in the same case.

As with all cases involving fire injury and death, involving attorneys and fire experts retained before the scene is changed or cleared away and before any products thought to be defective are discarded, is important to the success of the case.

If you or a family member have been the victim of a serious mobile home fire, please feel free to contact Robin P. Foster to find out more about your rights. 864-242-6200.