Who may be responsible ?
You may wonder whether you would be able to seek compensation if you are injured in a fire. This would largely depend upon how the fire was started.
If the fire truly begins “accidently” then the Law would not offer any recourse. However, “accidentally” would be narrowly confined to fires produced by mere chance or fires incapable of being traced to any cause.
What type of fires would then enable compensation to be sought ?
Fires started wilfully, for example, if someone set a car alight because this would represent Trespass in the Law.
Similarly, there would be redress if the fire escaped from an owner’s land if that land was being used in a non-natural manner, eg, storage of fireworks or other inflammable materials such as petrol, paint etc.
A claim in Nuisance could be brought if the fire has resulted from a wrongful state of affairs which has been created on the culprits land, eg, obviously defective wiring.
However, a claim might more commonly be brought simply because the person responsible has simply not exercised sufficient or reasonable Care. The degree of Care required of persons using flames on their premises is unsurprisingly very high, for example, a Contractor utilising a blow lamp in his work.
Finally, Liability might even arise if the fire were started without Negligence, but was carelessly permitted to spread. Hence, there was a successful claim in the early days of the motor car when a fire which began in a carburettor could easily have been controlled, but the Defendant, in the circumstances, failed to turn off the petrol tap.