2 dead identified after illegal boarding house fire
HOUSTON – Channel 2 Investigates has learned that a series of city employees from at least three separate departments visited an illegal boarding house but never took any meaningful steps to fine or shut down the facility, before a fatal fire there on Thursday.
Briscoe's Place, a 22-room boarding home, that does not have a permit to operate, caught fire early Thursday, killing two tenants.
Sandra Bruner and Gregory Crawley died at the boarding house.
Tenants of the home shared a kitchen and bathrooms.
The owner, listed as Moses Briscoe, 57, of Houston, would not answer questions regarding the illegal housing, known as "Briscoe's Place."
In 2014, The Houston Fire Department, specifically the Fire Marshal's office, inspected the property and denied the owner the necessary Certificate of Occupancy to legally run such a facility.
Channel 2 Investigates also found that 18 times since July 4, 2016, Houston police officers responded to calls for service at the property, at 4528 Griggs Road.
There is no record of HPD forwarding any request to any other department for follow-up inspection of the unlicensed boarding home.
The Department of Neighborhoods, known commonly as "Code Enforcement," also visited the building in May 2015, but gave the unlicensed, illegal facility a passing grade.
Mayor Sylvester Turner's office said Friday, the Department of Neighborhoods was only responsible for inspecting the number of toilets available to residents.
The Department of Neighborhood claimed, said the mayor's office to refer the case to another department, Public Works, for further inspection and follow-up, but there is no record of such an inspection.
"This situation points out deficiencies in our system that require correction. There will be a full review of everything," Janice Evans, Director of Communication for the Mayor's office, said Friday.
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