A three-alarm fire in Laurelhurst destroyed one home, damaged five others and injured three people Monday afternoon, after a furnace exploded in a house under construction.
Investigators have determined that the fire started after paint fumes ignited when a furnace was turned on. The house under construction, which belonged to Adam Selipsky, the vice president of product management at Amazon.com, was a complete loss. Three homes on Northeast Latimer Place had roof fires. A fourth home had siding damage. A home south of the fire site also suffered serious damage.
A construction worker suffered serious facial burns and was taken to Harborview Medical Center. Two firefighters were also treated for heat exhaustion.
The fire broke out at about 3:30 p.m. in the 5100 block of Laurelcrest Lane. Thick plumes of smoke could be seen as far away as Renton. “Construction workers inside the home said there was a furnace explosion that led to an attic fire that spread to the house to the south and also exposed flames to the house to the north,” fire department spokesman Kyle Moore said. “It also sent embers into the hillside causing brush fires and also caused roof fires one street up.”
In most cases where a person is injured on the job like the construction worker in the above story, their only recourse is through workers compensation. However, Washington’s workers compensation statute only prevents injured workers from recovering against their employer. Using the above story as an example, the injured construction worker may not recover from his employer, but if the blast was caused by negligence of a third party contractor in installing the furnace, in ventilating the freshly painted areas, etc., the worker may be able to recover against that third party contractor. Furthermore, if the blast was caused by a flaw in the design or construction of the furnace which exploded, the worker may also have a claim against the manufacturer of the furnace.
If you are injured on the job, it is wise to consult an attorney regarding your rights and to determine if you have any third party claims.
For the original news story and video of the fire see: http://blog.seattlepi.com/seattle911/2012/10/08/north-seattle-fire-damages-at-least-three-homes/#7779-1