Firefighters Find Disturbing Actions at Apartments

Three days after an apartment fire that killed four people, firefighters were back at the complex checking smoke detectors. What they found was a bit disturbing. Bill Stamps has the story.


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“Good morning. Buenos dias. I’m with Houston Fire Department.”

Captain Ponce Lopez was one of four firefighters going door to door at the Walnut Creek Apartments in the Greenspoint area. They were checking smoke detectors and passing out information about fire safety.

More nats Halfway through the complex Captain Lopez started to notice a pattern.

“We’re finding out that some of these units that we have visited don’t have smoke detectors.”

Bill: “At all or not working?”

“Some of these units do not have one at all.”

 Bill: “Isn’t that a violation?”
“Well, I’m not going to get into that because I do not know if the owner of the apartment complex provided one when they signed the lease.”

Early Friday morning two adults and two children died in a fire at one of the units. Firefighter Gary Blackman says going door to door is pretty common after such tragedies.

“Whenever we have a fatality in the neighborhood or an apartment complex, we just come out and do canvassing, make the resident aware of working smoke detector. We give out information about pool safety, space heaters, how to change a battery how to make sure you have a working smoke detector and that’s what the bags are for.” 

(sound of fire alarm). 

The complex’s handyman was busy installing detectors when a resident requested one. One woman told the crew she hadn’t had a working detector in years.

“She’s by herself and didn’t have a battery in the smoke detector. She said she hadn’t checked it in five years.”

The apartments owner George Paul says every unit has a working smoke detector when a new tenant moves in, but he says it’s the tenant’s who dismantle them once they start cooking or barbequing and the alarm goes off.

“On the balcony, they bbq and when smoke comes they take it out.”

Firefighters say that’s a mistake that often times prove deadly.

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