Southampton officials: Home in fatal fire had no rental permit or working fire detectors
Southampton town officials say a rental home that was the scene of a fire that killed two sisters did not have a rental permit or working smoke detectors.
Questions about the Spring Lane home began when firefighters reported to town officials that they did not hear smoke detector alarms when they responded to the fire that killed the two sisters from Maryland.
Officials say not having a rental permit is a violation of the town code. The lack of the rental permit meant there had been no inspection of the property to ensure safety.
"We check for things like smoke detectors, carbon monoxide alarms, GFI outlets," says Ryan Murphy, Southampton town code compliance and emergency management administrator. "We check for pool alarms and things like that. All of those types of things that are required portions of not just the town code, but the New York state fire and building code."
Town officials say their investigation found there were smoke detectors in the house, but they were not working.
"The batteries were old, or they have no batteries is what we're seeing so far," says Southampton Town Attorney Jim Burke.
Murphy says his office issues several rental code violations a week.
He says the proliferation of home-sharing sites makes it tough to keep up with violators.
"It's kind of always a game of catch up, trying to get them because you identify one, two others pop up," Murphy says.
The father, mother and brother of the family were able to escape the burning home. The sisters died of injuries sustained during the fire.
Officials hope the tragic fire will send a message to rental owners to make sure their property is safe.