Fires and Explosions

Fires and explosions, whether accidental or deliberate, are the source of some of the most painful injuries that we see at McCullough and Leboff. Whenever there is a fire, an explosion can add to the devastation if volatile chemicals are present.



The first type of injury that we associate with fires and explosions is burns. Burns can be thermal, from contact with fire, steam, hot objects, or hot liquids; or they can be chemical, from a substance coming into contact with the skin.

Burn injuries can cause blistering, infection, shock, and death. Survivors are often badly scarred, often leaving them permanently disfigured, even after multiple surgeries. Victims of serious burns typically face months and even years of painful treatment. Initial treatment of burns focuses on lessening pain, preventing infection, and minimizing scarring. Prognosis will depend on the size and severity of the burn and the part of the body affected. Psychological counseling is usually necessary to help victims come to terms with the likelihood of permanent disfigurement and, in many cases, physical limitations.

Nationwide, around 450,000 people suffer burn injuries serious enough to seek treatment. Ten percent of them are admitted to the hospital, and 3,500 die.


A person who survives and explosion, in addition to burns, may suffer damage to nearly any part of the body: lungs, eyes, ears, brain, and abdominal organs. Fractured bones, fragmentation injuries, and traumatic amputations are also commonly seen. Inhalation injuries associated with explosions can result in long-term respiratory problems.


Motor vehicle accidents, workplace accidents, aircraft accidents, and acts of terrorism account for a significant number of burn and explosion-related injuries. Any impact that causes flammable fluids or gasses to leak can cause car explosions and fires; broken fuel lines, hoses, caps, and filters can all cause fluid leaks. A fuel tank punctured in a car wreck can cause a gasoline leak out that can result in an explosion, which can engulf the car in flames, causing burns, inhalation injuries, and death.


Burns and explosions are often the result of someone’s negligence, and in some cases, a deliberate violent act. Negligence can be shown when a driver caused a car crash or a party responsible for safety inspections in the workplace failed to maintain a safe working environment.


Arson and terrorism cause fires and explosions less frequently than accidents. They are deliberate criminally violent acts that can cause severe injuries. A criminal conviction does not ensure that a victim’s damages will be compensated, but it may be possible to sue in civil court to recover damages. The actual perpetrator of the violence may not have insurance of assets, but a party responsible for the security of the premises may be found liable in civil court for allowing the criminal activity resulting from negligent security.

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