Last week's stand-off at the Roseville Galleria luckily ended with no injuries. According to the Sacramento Bee, a man walked into the mall's Gamestop, began talking incoherently, then ordered the employees out. The man subsequently set fire to the mall.
The fire garnered national attention as police and fire fighters mounted a massive response, surrounding the building and assisting shoppers out of the mall. The mall sustained significant water damage and the roof collapsed over two shops. Fortunately no one was harmed in the incident.
When large-scale accidents causing significant damage occur - several issues are raised. First, what is the primary cause of the accident? Here, a man suspected of arson has been arrested for the crime. Next, did those charged with responding to the accident and putting out the fire act with reasonable care? Police and employees are paid to perform their duties to an established standard of care - if their conduct falls below this threshold, liability may exist. In such instances, individuals, their employers and even local governments may be held responsible.
Finally, did the owner of the building in some way contribute to the damage by failing to protect themselves from fires? Reports have surfaced indicating that the sprinkler system failed to work properly, either as the result of a police officer or firefighter turning off the system or due to a failure of the system itself.
As the investigation into the fire continues, questions of liability will undoubtedly surface. When injuries occur, a victims' compensation depends on the answers to these questions.
For more information, or if you have been harmed in a California accident, contact the Law Office of Frederick J. Sette, helping the injured for more than 15 years.