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DC: Row house in fatal fire wasn’t approved for rent

August 21, 2019

WASHINGTON (AP) — The city of Washington, D.C., says a row house that caught fire and killed a tenant wasn’t licensed to even have tenants.

News outlets report the overcrowded home was mostly filled with Ethiopian tenants working to send money to their families. A Sunday morning fire killed one of them and severely injured a 9-year-old boy.

Authorities have yet to determine an official cause of the fire, but said the row house’s narrow halls, broken smoke detectors and barred exits were a deadly combination. Even the building’s front door was blocked by metal bars, which were ripped off as tenants screamed for help.

Court records list the home’s owner as 61-year-old James Walker, who didn’t answer The Washington Post ’s calls and told WJLA-TV that he wasn’t aware of the home’s conditions.

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