No Smoke Detectors in RV Where 4 Died
Numerous fires, filthy conditions and what residents call a "slumlord" is what makes up the Oasis RV Park on Union Avenue in Bakersfield, Calif. Residents said before they were all able to bear with it, but now after four people have died in a fire, they just can't anymore, KERO-TV< bakersfield, reported.
Click here to watch the TV station's coverage on this story.
The fire killed three animals and four people, including Brian Dross, 29, Amber Blackwell, 26, Steven Dross, 55, and Lonnie Dross, 59, early Sunday morning (Jan. 9). The Bakersfield Fire Department said a space heater caused the fire and that there were no smoke detectors inside the home.
"The home heater did not work. They'd been heating their house by the stove," said Steven Comer, who is a friend of the victims.
"To my knowledge, I don't know anybody that has a smoke alarm. If they did, they probably put it in on their own," said Oasis resident Vicky Gherity.
This isn't the first fire at the Oasis Village RV park, which rents out trailer spaces and motorhomes. Residents said there have been several fires — three in past few months, they said, two of which were within a couple weeks of each other.
Last winter, KERO-TV aired a story on Oasis Village. In that story, residents complained about the filthy and unsafe conditions they were living in because of the property owner's negligence. They said it's that negligence that has now led to tragedy.
"They just need to start fixing things, especially the electrical. If they would've had the heater fixed, this wouldn't have happened," said Comer.
Residents are now pleading to Babby Kurian, who is the property owner, for two things: functioning heating systems and smoke detectors.
"We're not asking for anything fancy. We're just asking for basic needs to stay alive," said Gherity.
Calls to Kurian have not been returned.
The state Department of Housing and Community Development said it plans to conduct a full inspection of Oasis Village in March to make sure it is in compliance with health, safety and code regulations.
The Bakersfield Fire Department said it appears the residents were renting the property, and they don't know yet if any charges are pending.