A fire at Kozy Kottage, a Baltimore assisted living facility, has now claimed the lives of four people, two others remain hospitalized. Seven people were inside the building, located in the 2800 block of Lawina Road, when the fire broke out in the early morning hours on March 3.

Two people were pronounced dead shortly after firefighters arrived at the scene, one did not need medical care and four were transported to area hospitals where one of them died Saturday and another died on Tuesday.

Authorities have not released the names of those who perished or were injured, but Jamie McHenry, 26, told the Baltimore Sun that said her 47-year-old father, James McHenry-Bey, is one of the four who have passed away.

Kozy Kottage Fire Investigation

The cause of the fire is under investigation. Problems were discovered during a recent inspection. On a January 5 visit this year, inspectors found that part of the living room had been made into a bedroom without the required notification to the health department. They also found that emergency and disaster plans were not regularly reviewed; medications were not safely stored; staff failed to accommodate special dietary needs for some residents; records inaccurately reflected the number of residents and there was no alarm system to alert staff when someone entered or exited the building.

During a 2016 inspection, inspectors could find no documented evidence that the manager had received current training in CPR, first aid or fire safety. In 2013, they found that multiple staff members lacked adequate training in fire safety, the use of fire extinguishers and first aid.

Between 2009-2013, there were an estimated 1,830 fires in assisted living or residential board and care facilities each year, according to the National Fire Protection Association. Each year, these fires caused six fatalities and 46 injuries. The death rate was 88 percent lower when facilities had wet pipe sprinkler systems.

According to the NFPAThe leading causes of fires that were not started intentionally were:

  • Cooking equipment (83 percent)
  • Smoking materials (4 percent)
  • Heating equipment (3 percent)
  • Laundry machines (3 percent)
  • Electrical (2 percent)

The fire attorneys at Pritzker Hageman obtained a recent $6 million settlement for a family in a wrongful death case and a $10 million settlement for a client who has badly burned.  To contact our lead fire attorneys, Fred Pritzker and Eric Hageman, about a fire lawsuit, click here or, call them at 1(888) 377-8900. The consultation is free and there is no obligation.