DETROIT, MICH. - A man who lived in the Detroit apartment building that caught fire this week was charged today for the deaths of five men who died in the blaze.
Henry Keith Jackson, 55, was arraigned today on five counts of first-degree felony murder, Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy's office announced. He also was arraigned on five counts of first-degree arson for the fire Wednesday at an 8-unit apartment building on Whittier Avenue at Beaconsfield.
The property owner, Irvin Beauford, told the Free Press Jackson might have had a dispute with another tenant. “Him and one of the guys got into it. That’s what I know,” Beauford said when reached by phone after Worthy announced the charges.
The Wayne County Medical Examiner's office is still working to identify the victims due to the condition of the bodies, according to a spokesman for county executive Warren Evans.
The apartment building was not properly registered with the city as a rental property, officials said today.
City inspectors last reviewed the apartment building’s exterior in 2014, according to David Bell, director of the Detroit Building Safety Engineering and Environmental Department.
The 2014 inspection showed that Beauford, the property owner, lacked various paperwork required for rental properties. The city told Beauford then to arrange for an interior inspection, a lead inspection, to register the building as a rental property and to get a certificate of compliance. He did none of that, according to Bell.
The Detroit Fire Marshal last inspected the property in January 2013 and it was up to code.
When reached by phone Friday, Beauford said he was driving and could not answer questions about his property being noncompliant with city rules for rental properties.
Beauford said the apartment building was not a group home. He described the facility as “semi-independent living” and the residents as “homeless, really.”
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Contact Joe Guillen: 313-222-6678 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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