Architect arrested for death of fireman

Interesting case going on in California where the unfortunate death of a firefighter was killed as what their department investigators say was the direct result of poor architectural design of the home.

The architect was also the builder and they owner.

Depending on inspection requirements at the time, I would be interested in what roll of responsibility (if any) the local government had in the case.


It would be interesting indeed.
Not only would it be interesting to see if the local government has any responsibility in the matter, but it would also be interesting to see if the individual(s) assigned to inspect that house would have personal responsibility as well.

I wouldn’t want to be the code official who approved the permit or did the inspections.

You mean the fire fighter was killed by the sprinkler system?


I would be suing the city for hiring an incompetent AHJ that didn’t bother to make sure the fire place was appropriate for indoor use.

Oh that’s right they can’t be sued and have sovereign immunity.

Pay attention to the carbon monoxide deaths in Aspen I believe and the criminal charges brought against the code guys among others (Hi-Eff joints in exhaust not glued or came apart).

That was my understanding as well. :shock::shock:

William -

SUPPOSEDLY, BUT look at the Colorado case. Would you believe IF they can be charged criminally they can be sued.

Gov’t and their employees are never liable for anything.

They are above the law, at all levels. And they are Assholes!

A story about a homeowner suit against a code official. Interesting reply by the city, saying it’s the homeowners fault.

Couple wins $575,000 in lawsuit against building officials.

The allegation is that the Builder/Owner/Architect changed components after they had been signed off by Building & Safety.

Changing the design spec. does not let the on site inspector off the hook IMHO.

Different inspectors inspect different items. There are no “onsite” inspectors for residential construction, except for large tract projects.


No footing inspection?

No pre drywall electrical inspection?

No pre concrete pour, pre drywall plumbing inspection?

No final inspection before CO is issued?

I had no idea.

The builder is accused of contributing to the fire by “…putting a fireplace on the third floor that was designed only for outside use, caused the fire.”
Read more:

That should have been caught by the building inspector at rough-in and at the final inspection in my opinion.

In this particular case, North Carolina as a state should be named…they allowed everyone and their brother to get a GC license without verifying ones qualifications and now they (or the public) is reaping the mess.
Too many GC are relying on code officials to find the mistakes… I see this all the time, especially when doing phased inspections…code officials pass stuff off and then I come behind them with 20 pages of items.

The same thing can be said for NC home inspectors who were getting GC license as a prerequisite in order to test for a home inspection license.


That’s not what I meant.

Each item (in most cases) is inspected by a different inspector, although some inspectors may check more than one specific item.

The mechanical inspector will not look at electrical, the electrical inspector will not look at structural (slab, framing, etc.), the plumbing inspector will not look at mechanical components, and on and on.

Additionally, once an item has been signed off, it will not be given a second look. For instance, if the electrical inspector signs off on the rough-in, much can be changed prior to drywall being placed without anyone noticing.

Allegedly, the inspector charged with signing off on the fire place installation contends that the system was changed out after inspection and that the changed-out system was not approved, nor was it in the original design.

got it Jeff. sorry for the confusion on my part.

More and more counties are hiring / training (state level) inspectors in multiple areas…I have built in several counties where one inspector will come out and check off multiple phases…usually smaller counties with tighter budgets. I do find they are sharper and more reasonable.

That’s what I do, residential and commercial construction.