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Fires: Cases Summarized By Personal Injury Attorney

This page within Virginia Tort Case Law is a compilation of cases reported by the Virginia Supreme Court and summarized by Brien Roche dealing with the topic of Fires and the related topic of personal injury. For more information about fire see the pages on Wikipedia.


See Va. Code § 10-1-1111 as to setting fires on state forest reservation.

See Va. Code § 10-1-1141 indicating that any person who starts fires which burn on forest land brushland or wasteland shall be liable for full amount of expenses incurred.

See Va. Code § 10-1-1142 regulating burning of woods, brush, etc.

See Va. Code § 10-1-1143 as to throwing inflammatory objects from vehicle.

See Va. Code Title 27 as to fire protection.

See Arson Reporting Immunity Act, Va. Code § 27-85.5.

See Va. Code § 44-155 as to nonliability of fire officials and political subdivisions in cases of mobilization.


2006 Blue Ridge Serv. Corp. v. Saxon Shoes, Inc., 271 Va. 206, 624 S.E.2d 55.

Plaintiff filed suit against defendant cleaning service alleging that employees of cleaning service were cause of fire in plaintiff’s building. Plaintiff’s expert witness on origin of fire and causation concluded that the fire originated as a result of smoking material discarded in the trash can. It was admitted that nobody saw any employee of the defendant smoking during the period of time when they were cleaning the premises and all of the employees maintained that they did not smoke in the building. This evidence was insufficient as to causation and absent proof of causation, there was no actionable negligence. As such, the expert testimony should not have been admitted and the case should have been stricken.

1984 Hayman v. Patio Prods., Inc., 226 Va. 482, 311 S.E.2d 752.

Fires.Minor plaintiff injured while attending outdoor party when garden torch was knocked over, spilling fluid on him. Fuel ignited and burned him severely.

1982 VEPCO v. Savoy Constr. Co., 224 Va. 36, 294 S.E.2d 811.

Action for damages caused by explosion and fires in pollution control plant under construction. Contractor found in violation of building code as matter of law; utility’s negligence in installing electrical cable held question for jury. Parties stipulated that National Electric Code had been adopted by statute in Virginia.

1981 Virginia Heart Inst. v. Northside Elec. Co., 221 Va. 1119, 277 S.E.2d 216.

Fire alarm system failed to activate during fire. Plaintiff alleged fault on part of installer.

1978 Richardson-Wayland Elec. Corp. v. VEPCO, 219 Va. 198, 247 S.E.2d 465.

VEPCO and its contractor damaged private home while repairing electrical lines. Home caught fire and was badly damaged. Contractor had contract with VEPCO whereby they agreed to indemnify VEPCO. Clause invalid.

1976 Monterey Corp. v. Hart, 216 Va. 843, 224 S.E.2d 142.

Defendant tenant alleged to have negligently caused fire. Exculpatory clause in lease, released defendant from liability.

1968 Simmons v. Commonwealth, 208 Va. 778, 160 S.E.2d 569.

Criminal case; presumption that fires caused by accident.

1968 Chesapeake & O. Ry. v. Crouch, 208 Va. 602, 159 S.E.2d 650.

Train started fire which spread to other areas. Decedent volunteer fireman was requested to assist fighting fire. General rule is that one who starts fire through negligence is not liable, solely because of such negligence, for injuries sustained by fireman. However, liability may be imposed where negligence creates hidden, unknown and increased dangers.

1958 Ramsey v. Commonwealth, 200 Va. 245, 105 S.E.2d 155.

Criminal case based on defrauding insurance company through arson. Opinion as to whether fires of incendiary nature inadmissible.

1955 Olds v. Woods, 196 Va. 960, 86 S.E.2d 32.

Shampoo ignited by match. Mere happening of accident not sufficient to allow recovery.

1954 Chesapeake & O. Ry. v. Seay, 195 Va. 566, 79 S.E.2d 631.

Plaintiff’s mill and adjacent building destroyed by fire. Under Va. Code § 56428 railroad company is liable for damage by fires started by its engines, regardless of negligence, but plaintiff must still prove fire was so started.

1949 Edwards v. Hobson, 189 Va. 948, 55 S.E.2d 857.

Fires alleged to have been caused by exposed portion of electrical wire. Plaintiff failed to establish that exposed condition caused fire or that fire caused exposed condition.

1947 Gallagher v. Stathis, 186 Va. 444, 43 S.E.2d 33.

Fires.Children died in tenement fire. Tenement in violation of building code. Verdict for plaintiff.

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Fires: Cases Summarized By Personal Injury Attorney

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