Five firefighters are suing Bovis Lend Lease for negligence after they suffered career-ending injuries in a fire at the Ground Zero site in New York, writes Dan Stewart.

The contractor is also facing legal action from the widow of a fireman who died in the blaze.

Bovis was construction manager at the demolition of the Deutsche Bank building, which was damaged by falling debris after the attacks on the World Trade Centre on 11 September 2001. The building caught fire last August and two firefighters died battling the flames.

The five men are suing Bovis in two separate suits. Michael Borst, Sean McBrien, Francis McCutchen and Steve Olsen are claiming compensation for injuries sustained while fighting the fire. Neil Nally, is suing for injuries caused by falling debris during the clean-up. He accused the contractor of “negligence, carelessness and recklessness”.

The family of Robert Beddia, who died in the fire, has also launched a suit against Bovis, government agencies and Bovis’ subcontractors, saying “wanton, willful, and reckless conduct” was responsible for Beddia’s death.

The US government has already found Bovis and subcontractor John Galt guilty of a catalogue of health and safety breaches after an investigation into the blaze. Workers were accused of blocking stairwells with materials, and there were not enough fire exit signs or extinguishers.

One firefighter accused Bovis of negligence, carelessness and recklessness

The fire is understood to have been started by a cigarette discarded by a worker.

Bovis was consequently fined $193,000 (£96,500), and its subcontractor John Galt was fined $271,000 (£138,000). John Galt was sacked by Bovis shortly after the fire. It is suing Bovis for $19m (£9.7m) in unpaid wages.

A grand jury is considering pursuing criminal charges.

Bovis said it did not comment on matters in litigation.