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Indianapolis Athletic Club Fire

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Firefighters responding to a fire at the Indianapolis Athletic Club were initially delayed by the annunciator panel indicating the fire was in the basement of the building. When they realized the fire was actually on the third floor, they were further delayed by a fire hose standpipe the maintenance personnel had sealed shut with Teflon tape. While some firefighters worked on the standpipe, others were sent to attack the origin of the fire in the barroom. However, the fire had spread above and behind the firefighters through a false ceiling containing combustible materials, resulting in a flashover that trapped and killed two firefighters and severely burned another.

We successfully represented the widow of one of the deceased firefighters in a wrongful death suit against the club, the city, and other defendants in spite of the “fireman’s rule,” which bars police and firefighters from suing over injuries received on the job on the grounds that their jobs are inherently dangerous.

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