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DC: City was notified that row house was illegally rented

August 28, 2019 GMT

WASHINGTON (AP) — Two Washington, D.C., agencies knew a row house that appeared to be illegally rented had “life safety violations” for months before a fire killed two tenants last week.

City Administrator Rashad M. Young told reporters Tuesday a police officer complained about the home to the city and fire department in March, prompting a city inspector to visit it. He says the inspector never gained entry and contacted the home’s owner, but neither agency fully probed the officer’s complaint. Four workers from the agencies are now on leave. The U.S. attorney’s office is investigating.


The officer’s complaint “strongly recommended” inspectors investigate an apparently unlicensed rooming house with possible fire code violations. Authorities have said the house contained a deadly mixture of broken smoke detectors, narrow halls and barred exits.