This week’s question comes from Dawn E. in the Mission District who asks: “I live on 23rd Street near the construction site where two pedestrians were injured when materials were blown off the job site and onto them as they were walking by on the sidewalk. It is unfathomable that this could happen. What is the law on a situation like this?”
Daniela from Bernal Heights told me the other day about a pothole in a crosswalk in her neighborhood that never seems to get fixed and keeps getting worse. She said she is afraid a bicyclist or pedestrian is going to get seriously injured and wondered why The City has not repaired the crosswalk.
Daniela: I am glad you are alarmed. You should be. It is so important to prevent injuries and to keep people safe. Fortunately, you can turn your concern into action. You can take steps to help make San Francisco better for older people, disabled people, people on bicycles, and everyone else. You can report dangerous conditions before people are injured.
On June 5, 2017, Ghost Ship master tenant Derick Almena and his second-in-command, Max Harris, were arrested and charged with 36 counts of involuntary manslaughter in conjunction with the December 2, 2016, Ghost Ship fire that killed three dozen people. “The paying guests at the event were faced with a nearly impossible labyrinth of the defendants’ making to get out of that building,” said Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley at a news conference. “Almena and Harris’ actions were reckless and they created the high risk of death.”
On the night of Friday, December 2, 2016, 36 people perished, almost all young adults, and many more suffered physical and psychological injuries in a horrific fire that consumed the Ghost Ship building in the Fruitvale District of Oakland. The fire started near midnight during an electronic music show in the converted warehouse. It was the deadliest structural blaze in California since the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire.
Daryl from San Francisco writes: “Chris, I recently moved to The City. Last week I exited my apartment building from a side door. It was at night and light above the door was out. I didn’t notice that the sidewalk was broken and uneven. I tripped and fractured my wrist. I spoke to the apartment manager. She said to file a claim with The City because roots from a tree cracked the sidewalk. What should I do?”
Daryl, I hope your wrist fully heals. It appears two dangerous property conditions – the exterior light not functioning and the uneven sidewalk – may have caused your fall.
On Monday, March 27, 2017, a three-story transitional housing building near downtown Oakland was destroyed by a massive fire. Four persons were killed. Four others were hospitalized with smoke inhalation, but were expected to be released. The fire started on the top floor of the building located at 2551 San Pablo Avenue in West Oakland. Fire inspectors reportedly found 11 glaring safety violations just three days earlier.
My column last week addressing a question by a woman whose father fell and broke his hip at a supermarket triggered additional questions from readers. Brett in the East Bay asks whether you can bring a lawsuit for injuring yourself walking on an uneven sidewalk.
Paula in the Sunset District of San Francisco writes: “My father was shopping at his neighborhood supermarket last month. It’s one of the national brands. He had to use the restroom, which was in the rear of the supermarket off a hallway that led to the stock area. As he followed the signs to the restroom, he slipped and fell. He is 82 years old and broke his right hip, which required surgery. He is now recovering in a rehabilitation facility. My father does not remember why he fell.
Another shopper was exiting the restroom as he fell. He helped my father and gave him his phone number. I called and thanked him for his assistance. The shopper said there were smashed strawberries on the floor near where my father fell. The event has turned my father’s life upside down. He has difficulty concentrating and is depressed, and his recovery will take months. He has Medicare but is receiving bills. He is on a very tight, fixed income. What can I do to help him?”
My heart, and those of the entire Bay Area, go out to the families and friends whose loved ones died at the Ghost Ship on December 2, 2016. The horrific inferno at the converted, two-story warehouse constitutes the deadliest structure blaze in California since the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire.
Nearly a year and a half ago, the Bay Area was rocked by the senseless deaths of six young people who died in the collapse of an apartment balcony in Berkeley. Last Friday night, we experienced another tragedy affecting young people, though with a far greater loss of life. My heart, and those of the entire Bay Area, go out to the families and friends whose loved ones died in the horrific Oakland warehouse fire.