Faulty fire alarms possible reason behind apt. fire fatality

By Melanie Posey

BIRMINGHAM (WBRC) - A Birmingham man died early Thursday morning in a fire at the Sandpiper Apartments along Valley Avenue, which some residents said could have easily been prevented.

Fire officials believe the fire which broke out around 2 a.m. and was accidentally started by a cigarette. Neighbors said that saw and smelled smoke, but none of the units' smoke detectors went off. Investigators are still trying to determine if the victim's detector was working.

Managers of the Sandpiper Apartments said they are investigating the matter, too. In a letter to residents late Thursday afternoon, they reminded tenants that it is their responsibility to keep the detectors in working order and they have offered to change the batteries for the residents for a $25 fee.

The Jefferson County Coroner has not released the victim's name, as his family has not yet been notified.

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