Family of fallen firefighter will get $400k in insurance money from homeowner

Captain Jack Henry Rose

A $400,000 settlement has been offered to the family of Captain Jack Henry Rose, a volunteer firefighter with the Mount Marion Fire Department who died almost two years ago in a house fire at 11 Fel Qui Road. He was 19 years old.

Homeowner Mary Alice Mark, whose home caught fire as the result of an incorrectly installed wood stove, has agreed to pay the full value of her insurance coverage to Gary and Linda Rose.

Their representing attorney, Joseph O’Connor, says that the family is likely to accept the offer, which will probably be approved early next year.

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Their representing attorney, Joseph O’Connor, says that the family is likely to accept the offer, which will probably be approved early next year.

The settlement would have to be approved by surrogate court and would be paid entirely by the homeowner’s insurance company. One-third will go for attorney’s fees. The petitions are being drafted.

There are laws in New York State, known as the Firefighter’s Laws, that limit firefighters to workers comp recoveries from firefighting districts [after accidents],” said lawyer O’Connor. “205-A of the general municipal law … essentially provides extra protections to firefighters and police. There’s an actual statute that allows them to make a claim based on the violation of a safety regulation. Without the statute, firefighters weren’t allowed to sue third parties. If you’re able to prove the violation of a safety regulation contributed to the death or injury, then the defendant is not even permitted to allege that the firefighter or police officer was negligent.”

In 2016, the Rose family filed the lawsuit in state Supreme Court. The suit, filed by Kingston-based law firm Mainetti, Mainetti and O’Connor, accused Mark of negligently maintaining the woodstove in violation of fire laws and residential codes. The suit alleges that the faulty stove was the sole cause of Rose’s untimely death. The Rose family decided against suing the Centerville Fire District or the village of Saugerties.

An autopsy determined that Rose, who had been a member of the department since he was 16, died of asphyxia due to the inhalation of superheated gases, which ultimately cause cardiac arrest. He was found conscious on the scene, but later died.

According to the state Department of Labor, he was separated from members of a hose line while fighting a fire in the basement of the home. The breathing apparatus he took from a Centerville Fire District truck had not been properly fitted for him. Rose likely became disoriented while trying to find his way out of the basement amidst the heavy smoke and high heat.

The Department of Labor issued multiple OSHA (Occupational Safety  and Health Administration) violations of codes to both the Mount Marion and Centerville departments for gaffes made by firefighters during the deadly blaze, including the fatal error of failing to keep track of Rose’s whereabouts.

There is one comment

  1. publius syrius

    I’m sorry but this is wrong. Terrible precedent. Unless your house was struck by lightning, there was probably negligence. Old wiring, falling asleep with a cigarette, space heater by curtains. It’s all negligent.

    Firemen fight fires. They know it’s risky. Why does it matter if the fire was caused by an improperly maintained woodstove or some other cause? A fire is a fire. And as this article notes, the cause of death was inhaling noxious gases because the fireman’s mask wasn’t fitted properly. How is that the homeowner’s fault?

    Very sad case. Very bad law.

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