Deadly fire not the first blaze in Baltimore Street house - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Lori Brown

Deadly fire not the first blaze in Baltimore Street house

Fire investigators say they'll never know what started a fire Saturday morning at 862 Baltimore that killed seven people, but they do know what started a fire in the same house nearly three years ago: electrical problems.

Memphis Fire Department spokesperson Lt. Keith Staples said Monday it was unclear if the electrical problem was the landlord or tenant's fault.

Records, however, do reveal more about the landlord. The Shelby County Property Assessor's website shows Charles Frank Holland owns nearly 100 properties in Shelby County.

The District Attorney General recently shut down two of them.

"Today this rooming house is no longer a gang safe-house," Memphis Police Director Larry Godwin said at the April 9th closure.

The DA's office says tenants at two of Holland's houses sold drugs from the homes, which were disgustingly dirty inside.

"It was dark in there smelled bad, trash," said Paul Hagerman at the DA's office. "All sorts of insects...hard to imagine people living there, but there were."

While our camera was there roaches were not hard to find.

"Any landlord has a responsibility to when he rents property that it's habitable, clean...sufficient for people to live there," Hagerman said.

Tuesday, we went to Charles Holland's most recent address listed in records, but no one came to the door.  Holland is cited for two code violations. One of them includes unsafe conditions and electrical problems.


Click here to send an email to Lori Brown.

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