Firefighters in 2005 Black Sunday Fire to Receive $183 Million
Feb 24, 2016 09:35 AM EST
The families of five firefighters from the deadly 2005 apartment building blaze in New York City were awarded $183 million by a jury on Monday in Bronx state Supreme Court. This was after the famous trial of the "Black Sunday" inferno that happened on Jan. 23, 2005.
Reuters reported that, according to the court's decision, the city will be responsible in shoulder $140 million to the firefighters and their families. The remaining amount from the $183 million will be paid by the building's former owner, Leslie Berman, through its insurer. Long before the verdict was announced, Berman had already settled with the families. Originally, there are six firefighters involved in the case. However, one of the families reached a settlement with the city.
The Black Sunday fire tore through a tenement in a Bronx district in January 2005. The six heroes got trapped on the fourth floor of the establishment, partly because the apartments had been installed with temporary walls.
Two of the firefighters that responded were killed while four others were severely injured. One of the injured men passed away in 2011.
A spokesman for the law department of the city released a statement, published on NY Times, where they would consider an appeal. The spokesman shared that the jury had put too much blame on the city for the incident that transpired. "The city has always viewed this incident as a tragedy for the firefighters and their families, but we believe that the jury's verdict does not fairly apportion liability in view of compelling evidence that established that the landlord's numerous building code violations were directly responsible for this horrible event."
In defense to this, the lawyer of the five firefighters pointed out on Daily Mail that the fire department failed to provide them with ropes. This forced all men to jump out of the burning building. Both Lieutenant Curtis Meyran and John Bellew died on impact after jumping out of the 50-foot building. The lawyer shares that the men have "grieved for 11 years."
A lawyer for the building owner pointed to the lack of safety ropes as the "key factor" in the unfortunate tragedy. He shares that "it's very gratifying that the jury found the landlord was only 20 percent at fault in the case." The lawyer also shares that Berman had always felt empathy for the firefighters and had hoped they would be properly compensated.