Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

March 28, 2012

Landlord: W.Va. house had detectors before fire

Associated Press

CHARLESTON — The landlord of a Charleston house where a fire killed nine people says she ordered eight smoke detectors installed last fall, but a relative of some of the victims says none were present when his sister and her children moved in.

Delores Shamblin of Mammoth told the Charleston Gazette ( that a private company installed the detectors in November. She said she turned receipts for the devices over to her insurance agent and registered the property with the Charleston Building Commission around the same time.

Shamblin said she had hired the installation company earlier to inspect the property because she wanted to ensure it met U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development standards. But HUD never inspected the house, said Jeff Knight, chief of operations for the agency’s Charleston office.

Robert Jones-Isabel said there were no smoke detectors in place when his sister, 26-year-old Alisha Carter-Camp, moved in. She bought her own detector, he said, but may not have installed it.

Mayor Danny Jones has said investigators found only one working smoke detector, and it wasn’t properly mounted. State law requires landlords to install smoke detectors near every bedroom in one- and two-family dwellings.