Craig Mackie just needed six more feet to escape his home. Firefighters found him near the door of his home and speculated that if he’d have a few more seconds he would have made it out of the home. Mackie’s mom’s attorney, Thomas Hearne said that had the home he rented had smoke detectors then he would have had the time he needed to escape the flames.
On Tuesday, April 21, 2020, attorneys for the owner of the rental home on West Elm Street in Springfield, Illinois, decided not to test Hearne’s theory and settled the case for $350,000.The money went to Mackie’s mom Patricia Mackie and her attorney.
No Smoke Detectors
The case serves as a warning to owners or managers of rental properties to make sure that they have working smoke detectors in the homes before they rent them out. Springfield housing codes require that each home for lease or rent have working smoke detectors.
However, failing to have working smoke detectors doesn’t automatically make the owners of the rental home liable for deaths from a fire. The victim’s family bringing the suit also needs to prove that the cause of death was linked to not having smoke detectors.
Attorney Hearne was ready to argue that because Mackie’s body was just a few feet from the door, he would have made it out if he had more time. If proven, this would have gone a long way to make a case for negligence because had a smoke alarm gone off, then Mackie would have had more time to get out.
In an earlier interview, Patricia Mackie, the deceased’s mom, said that in another “’almost” her son was planning on leaving the house to come.
These kinds of details can haunt those who lost a loved one in a house for or some other tragic accident. If anything can be taken from this is that smoke detector certainly save lives, and rental property owners need to follow the law and make sure each unit has working detectors.