Questions surround deadly apartment fire

March 26, 2012 2:57:21 PM PDT
A seven-month-old baby died tragically in a fire at his family's home. While the cause is still under investigation, there are questions about the safety of the complex where the family was living, and where the baby's parents were when the fire began.

Arson investigators have not yet determined a cause of the fire. There have been no arrests and no one has been charged with any crime.

Balloons, flowers and stuffed animals mark the scene of the ferocious fire Saturday inside the Palmview apartments on Schuller. Through Facebook a neighbor sent me a picture from last night during a memorial here for little Jaivon McClain. The seven-month-old suffered burns and was pronounced dead.

"I went inside to try and get the baby," said Jaivon's godmother Debora Williams. "He was screaming, hollering. We couldn't do nothing."

Williams and neighbor Brandi Hargrove are among several tenants who say they repeatedly attempted to save Jaivon.

Hargrove said, "We tried, we tried and we tried to get him out."

They tried but say the flames and smoke were too intense. Investigators say the building started to burn around 10:30pm Saturday. Several tenants made it out safely. Witnesses say Jaivon's parents were outside talking when neighbors alerted them to the blaze.

A spokesperson for the apartment complex says the infant's father works security there and was on patrol at the time of the blaze. So far neither police nor arson investigators have been able to tell us what they have discovered about whether the infant's parents were nearby or not.

When we asked employees at the property whether there are working smoke detectors in each unit, they first refused to answer. Later, another person representing the Palmview insisted there is a smoke detector in each apartment upon rental. Whether they remain in working condition, they insist, is up to the tenant.

More than one person who lives there, though, insists they do not currently have smoke detectors in their apartments as required by city code.

"I think that is so unfair for them to say they have something when they don't," said tenant Angelique Richardson.

Investigators can't tell us if there was a working smoke detector in the unit where little Jaivon died. That's certainly something investigators are attempting to figure out.

The medical examiner has yet to release the cause of death for Jaivon. Arson investigators have not yet said what caused the fire.

Load Comments