9News Investigators: State Fire Marshal finds several violations at Addis townhomes

9News Investigators: State Fire Marshal finds several violations at Addis townhomes
Source: WAFB
Source: WAFB
Source: WAFB
Source: WAFB
Source: WAFB
Source: WAFB
Source: WAFB
Source: WAFB

ADDIS, LA (WAFB) - A 9News investigation triggered an expanding investigation into the death of a 1-year-old in Addis.

On Monday evening, Kristiana Tillman died at the D'Iberville Townhomes in Addis. The West Baton Rouge Coroner's office said autopsy results showed Tillman died from electrocution. An air conditioning unit next to her unit had live wires that were exposed, and Yancy Guerin with the WBR coroner's office said Tillman's body was found next to the AC unit.

On Friday, there were seven State Fire Marshal deputies out at the townhomes looking for any violations in all 48 units.

"In that investigation, I guess three big concerns came to our attention. Many apartments were lacking working smoke alarms. Many apartments were lacking operable fire extinguishers. We also did note some electrical violations on the outside of the buildings," said Browning.

Deputies said they found live, high voltage wires sticking out from other air conditioning units as well as live wires coming out from electrical boxes. They found fire extinguishers that were not tagged and some that were expired.

In total, deputies said they found approximately 140 violations on Friday. That includes wiring, fire extinguishers and improper smoke barriers in the attics. Plus, officials said a majority of the smoke detectors were missing or broken in all 48 units.

"We've cited the owner of this building by the close of business today to install battery operated smoke alarms in the building, install fire extinguishers in the building and further, and to secure the electrical problems that we see," said Browning.

Browning said it the violations are not fixed by the end of Friday, they would issue a cease and desist order.

The property owners, Latter & Blum issued us a statement.

"We are currently confirming that all of the residences at D'iberville apartments have the required equipment, per state fire code. The assurance of safety and well-being of our tenants is a top priority. We have not received a written report from the state fire marshal, but are fully prepared to comply should any deficiencies arise now or in the future."

The Addis Police Department continues its investigation as well into whether the 1-year-old's death was negligence or an accident. Chief Ricky Anderson said it's up to the district attorney's office to determine whether there are criminal charges.

"Before prosecutors will sit down and look at the case and determine if there are any criminal offenses that occurred, we are going to have to receive the file from the Addis Police Department with the findings of their investigation," said Col. Richie Johnson with the DA's office.

State Fire Marshal deputies said the property management did get maintenance crews out on Friday and have since fixed all the smoke detectors and the fire extinguishers now are all tagged and up to date.

Deputies added maintenance crews continue to work on the wiring violations.

If they do not finish before nightfall, the State Fire Marshal's office will issue cease and desist orders for any units that are not up to par. 

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