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Apartment Fires and Landlord Negligence: How to Protect Yourself and Your Loved Ones

The population of Texas continues to grow rapidly, outpacing most other states in the U.S. As the population growing so rapidly, there has to be somewhere for this population to live. That is why Texas tops the list of renter majority cities.  According to a recent Census Bureau report on “predominantly renter” cities, College Station, Texas is ranked number one nationally, with nearly 60 percent of its residents in rental housing. Killeen, Texas ranks third at 56 percent. Across the nation, rental housing is home to more than a third of U.S. households, including a growing number of older and wealthier households, according to the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University. “Despite slowing demand and the continued strength of new construction, rental markets in the US remain extremely tight. Vacancy rates are at decades-long lows, pushing up rents far faster than incomes,” according to a recent report, America’s Rental Housing 2020. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, “[f]rom 2008 to 2017, trends in multifamily dwellings showed an 8% increase in fires, a 3% decrease in deaths, a 13% decrease in injuries, and an 18% increase in dollar loss[.]”  According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, “From 2013 to 2015, an estimated 109,700 multifamily residential building fires were reported to fire departments within the United States each year. These fires  caused an estimated 405 deaths; 3,975 injuries; and $1.4 billion in property loss. Multifamily residential building fires accounted for 29 percent of all residential building fires.”

With so many Americans living in apartment housing, it is important for them to protect themselves, their property and their livelihood. According to one large insurer, “Multi-unit residential buildings can present unique fire safety concerns. With many neighbors living closely together, potentially confusing evacuation routes out of the building, and management companies pressured to balance tenant safety against a list of competing priorities, many apartment dwellers avoid thinking about fire risks altogether.”

According to First Alert, the manufacturer of a popular smoke detector, here are some things you can do to protect yourself and your family:

  • Use surge protectors to keep appliances safe
  • Don’t overload circuits
  • Don’t use cords that are frayed or cracked
  • Don’t run cords under rugs or between rooms
  • Never leave a portable space heater unattended
  • Ensure children cannot reach matches or lighters
  • Don’t store flammable items inside of your apartment
  • Never leave candles burning unattended
  • If you are cooking something, don’t leave food unattended on the stove

However, not all apartment fires are started within an apartment. Some start within the common areas of the apartment complex and spread to the individually occupied units. In these situations, apartment management or the apartment complex owner may be responsible for the cause and source of the fire.

If you have suffered a loss in an apartment fire where the fire started in the common areas, please give us a call at 713-966-6140 or email us at We may be able to help.