State probe finds code violations at Paris shelter

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email

DALLAS (AP) - A state investigation has found more than a dozen fire code violations at the East Texas homeless shelter where five men died in a massive blaze early this year.

The investigation by the state fire marshal's office has determined that the Christians in Action shelter in Paris was deficient in 18 areas. Those include a lack of fire prevention devices and proper exits.

Thirty men were sleeping in makeshift cubicles when it caught on fire in the early morning hours of Jan. 5.

The report said the Lamar County district attorney's office will review the matter to see if criminal negligence was involved.

A copy of the document was obtained by The Associated Press through a request under the Texas Public Information Act.

Don Walker is the founder of the nonprofit organization that owned and operated the facility. He says battery-operated smoke detectors had been installed. But the men were constantly removing the devices so they could smoke in the building.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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