"If a public official doesn't do his job and people die as a result of it or people are seriously injured, there has to be some accountability."
A Stamford Attorney and volunteer firefighter, who won a $825,000 settlement early this month for a deadly fire in Bridgeport wants public officials to be more diligent in their service.
John LaCava represented a man whose family was killed in a 2004 apartment fire. He says the apartment's landlord was arrested after it was discovered the home did not have any smoke detectors installed, doors were barricaded shut, and there were bars on windows.
"This particular apartment had never been inspected," LaCava said. "We could find no records of any annual inspections ever having been done in this particular premise."
"We were not able to find any established plan, schedule, or outline as to how the fire inspectors should go about inspecting these."
In a suit against the city of Bridgeport LaCava alleged recklessness on the part of the fire department. The city of Bridgeport recently settled, avoiding a trial and a further discussion of the fire inspectors' alleged negligence. He tells us if the case had gone to trial it would have done the city significant harm.
As a volunteer firefighter himself, LaCava says he understands the stresses public officials face and says his work can inspire officials to work to a higher standard.
"Fire marshals shouldn't be afraid that they'll be subject to a lawsuit for anything they do wrong. It really is a very high standard. "