Fire Company Must Pay $125,000 to Firefighter

Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.

By Margaret Sena-Stahl

BLOOMING GROVE -- A volunteer firefighter who sued his fire company after he slipped in its parking lot in 1996 has been awarded $125,000 in a court settlement.

William Preston, who volunteered for Mountain Lodge Park Fire Company in Blooming Grove, was injured when he fell on an icy and poorly lit parking lot at the firehouse.

"They knew this kind of problem would exist and it was not remedied," said Elliot Tetenbaum, a partner with the New Windsor firm representing Preston.

Tetenbaum said it was a reasonable expectation that the steep driveway would be sanded and well-lit to avoid accidents like Preston's from happening.

In trying the case, Tetenbaum said it was important to have the jury understand that a volunteer organization should be held to the same standards as government or business.

When Preston fell, he fractured and dislocated his ankle. He was out of work as a security guard for 13 weeks. Although Preston had to give up coaching youth soccer, football, CYO basketball and can no longer run, with the help of an operation he is recuperating, Tetenbaum said.

Tetenbaum said that Preston did not want to make any comments. The case was settled March 16. Officials from the fire company could not be reached for comment.

* Reprinted with permission of The Times Herald-Record

Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.