FDNY firefighter suing homeowner for injuries suffered on call

The firefighter who filed the lawsuit said he suffered a shoulder injury in the fire

NEW YORK — An FDNY firefighter is suing a homeowner three years after responding to a basement fire.

NBC New York reported that firefighter Andrew Cannon injured his shoulder in a fire started by a paint can placed too close to a basement furnace.

Homeowner Kudar Uday said there was some smoke and charring from the fire, but the damage was minimal, according to the report. Firefighters were in and out of the house within 45 minutes.

Uday was shocked three years later when a letter arrived in the mail telling him that one of the firefighters who had reported to his home that day was suing him, according to the report.

"It only takes one injury to destroy a firefighter’s career," lawyer Peter Gleason said. "Firefighters have to reasonably be able to protect themselves."

Homeowners used to be protected by such suits by the "Firefighters Rule," which said they assume a risk when reporting to a fire and cannot sue afterward. The rule, however, was abolished in the 1960s, according to the report.

"Firefighters were getting severely injured and in many cases dying,” Gleason said. "It was decided that there needed to be more avenues for retribution."

Firefighters can now sue homeowners saying that the fire started due to negligence, making many kinds of fires possible for such claims.

"You want some kind of help," Uday said. "But three years later, to be sued by the men you called to help ... that’s not help."

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