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Fireworks fetch couple lawsuit and costly bill

A couple in Pudong was ordered to pay 357,000 yuan (US$55,948) to their neighbor for damages caused by fireworks during the Spring Festival, the Pudong New Area District People's Court said yesterday.

The man surnamed Liang and his wife lit up the fireworks in front of their building near Dongfang Road on February 20, 2010 when a sky rocket flew into the 14th floor balcony of their neighbor surnamed Xie.

Xie and his family were not at home at that time and the fire torched the flammable items on the balcony and spread to other rooms. Fortunately, no one was hurt in the fire but the family Xie suffered big property loss.

Xie sued the couple in the Pudong New Area District People's Court on March 29, 2010, demanding 1.28 million yuan in compensation to cover economic losses, shelter cost, mental damage and lawyer's fee.

Liang questioned the sum of Xie's alleged losses in the court and contested that Xie was partly responsible for the fire because he put flammable items in the balcony and didn't shut the windows before leaving home.

He also accused the property management company of not preventing him from launching fireworks in the prohibited area and put the blame on a faulty fire hydrant near the building which failed to pump water with right pressure, thus delaying the firefighting efforts.

The court didn't accept Liang's argument nor did it support Xie's demand for compensation for his mental damage and lawyer's fee.

After evaluating Xie's property damages, the court ruled that the couple should pay Xie 357,000 yuan in compensation.


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