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Storm Sandy Fires

February 12, 2013

Storm Sandy claims are being filed against the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA), the utility providing the Breezy Point and Belle Harbor neighborhoods of Queens with electricity. LIPA is charged with negligence in its management of the electrical system during Superstorm Sandy. Although a mandatory evacuation was in place for the Rockaway Peninsula and LIPA knew that its electrical systems there faced 11 feet or more of ocean storm surge, LIPA failed to “de energize” its operations. When saltwater came into contact with the LIPA system, short circuits started fires that burned down more than 130 homes. LIPA failed to heed utility industry protocol that calls for shutting down power in the face of a severe flood. The purpose of this procedure is to protect property from fires. Consolidated Edison protected Manhattan, as well as Coney Island, Brighton Beach and Sheepshead Bay, just to the north of Breezy Point, by cutting off power before Sandy. LIPA even cut power to Fire Island to the east, anticipating fire hazards and the fact that floods would prevent effective firefighting responses, but failed to do so on the Rockaway Peninsula.

If your business or home suffered damage as a result of the Rockaway fires, in any of the Storm Sandy areas, please contact us for a free consultation at (212) 987-1100.

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