Sunday, December 09, 2012

Joplin company disabled fire alarms at Wheaton apartment complex where five were killed

An important development in the ongoing investigation of the apartment complex fire that killed five people in Wheaton Thanksgiving morning- The Springfield News-Leader is reporting this morning that  Bell Management, Inc., Joplin, disabled the fire alarms at the complex nearly a decade ago because people were pulling them at all hours:

“There are fire pulls in the breezeway, and they have not operated for ten years,” said Rick Schroeder, the president of Bell Management, Inc. of Joplin. “All the tenants were told they didn’t work when they moved in. We had problems with people pulling them in the middle of the night at all hours. That’s why they were disabled.”
But Ellen Doherty, 25, the sole survivor of the second-story apartment where fire started at the Blue Ridge Apartments, said no one told her that the fire alarms didn’t work. Doherty told investigators from Barry County and the state fire marshal’s office that she ran outside and pulled fire alarms. Nothing happened.
“I tried,” Doherty said in a followup interview last week with the News-Leader. “They didn’t work.”
 Ellen Doherty's mother and boyfriend were among the five killed in the fire.

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