Relatives of three victims have filed lawsuits against the owner of a property where a house fire killed seven children and two adults in 2012.
The lawsuits allege that the property’s owner, Delores Shamblin of Mammoth, failed to maintain smoke alarms at the property and did nothing about recurring electrical problems.
A message left at a telephone listing for a Delores Shamblin in Mammoth wasn’t immediately returned.
Gwendolyn LeVert and Sharday McGee filed the lawsuits last Friday in Kanawha County Circuit Court, the Charleston Gazette reported.
LeVert’s son, Alexander Lee Seals, and Seals and McGee’s daughters, 4-year-old McKenzie and 6-year-old Gabrielle, were among the victims. McGee filed two lawsuits, one on behalf of each girl.
The other victims were 26-year-old Alisha Carmella Carter-Camp; Carter-Camp’s children, 8-year-old Keahana Alease Carter-Camp, 7-year-old Timothy “BJ” Bryan Carter-Camp and 3-year-old Jeremiah Rashaud Carter-Camp; and her nephews, 3-year-old Elijah John Scott and 20-month-old Emmanuel Charles Jones-Isabell.
Carter-Camp’s sister, Latasha Jones-Isabel, escaped the fire, which occurred on March 24, 2012. She told authorities she was outside smoking a cigarette when the fire began but the house was engulfed before she could get back inside.
Carter-Camp had rented the two-story house from Shamblin. The fire tore through the residence hours after the last guest left her birthday party.
The house was demolished in August 2013.
The fire was the deadliest in Charleston since seven firefighters perished while battling a fire at a Woolworth department store in 1949.
Investigators could not determine how the fire began and ruled the cause “undetermined.”
Charleston Building Commissioner Tony Harmon had previously told the newspaper that only one smoke detector was in the house and it was not working or installed properly.
Harmon had said city inspectors tried to visit the property about a month before the fire but left because no adults were home.
Shamblin was never issue any citations and the building commission received no complaints about the house, Harmon had said.