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  1. #1
    Sr. Information Officer NJFFSA16's Avatar
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    Unhappy The sad life of a young fire victim

    This brought tears to my eyes..... How sad.


    KALAMAZOO, Mich. (AP) - When Ashley Joyce died in a house fire,
    the 10-year-old girl was living in a condemned home with no
    electricity and boarded-up windows. She routinely put herself to
    bed by candlelight.
    A fifth-grader at the Woodward School for Technology and
    Research, Ashley attended school regularly and was a popular
    student who tutored younger students there.
    After dancing at the school's year-end concert on May 31,
    Ashley, her 11-year-old brother and 12-year-old sister followed
    their usual after-school routine. They went to the Boys & Girls
    Club of Greater Kalamazoo, then, when the center closed, they went
    to a cousin's house before returning home around 11:30 p.m.
    Their mother was gone and the children put themselves to bed.
    Their candles were extinguished - all except one, which sparked a
    fire that killed Ashley. Her sister was treated for stomach burns;
    her brother was not injured.
    Ashley's death has raised questions about the landlord, who
    allowed the family to rent a condemned house; about the city and
    its policing of derelict properties; and about Ashley's mother, who
    had a drug problem, did not pay the bills and had previously left
    her three young children home alone, according to police and court
    records that the Kalamazoo Gazette obtained under the Freedom of
    Information Act.
    Some who knew the young victim were shocked to learn that she
    had lived as she did. Few adults in the neighborhood realized that
    the 97-year-old, wood-frame house was even occupied, the Gazette
    reported Sunday.
    After the family's water and electrical services were shut off,
    they used bottled water to flush the toilets and burned candles for
    light. By May, the family was facing eviction proceedings for
    nonpayment of rent.
    Owned by Roy and Mary Crawford of Kalamazoo, the residence was a
    former rooming house with a history of code violations dating to
    1989. The city revoked the occupancy permit in April 1999, records
    show.
    Gas and electrical meters were removed and the building was
    partially boarded up. But last year, the Crawfords rented the house
    to the children's mother, Angieleak Joyce, for $600 per month,
    court and city records show.
    After the fire, Roy Crawford was charged with fire- and
    housing-code violations, allowing occupancy of an uncertified
    rental dwelling, allowing occupancy of a nuisance dwelling,
    disconnecting required utilities and failing to install required
    smoke detectors. He will return to court on Oct. 28.
    As for Ashley's 29-year-old mother, the woman's life has been
    complicated by drug use, she acknowledged in a recent court
    appearance.
    On the night of the fire, Angieleak Joyce initially told police
    she had left the house and gone to the store before the fire broke
    out. Police later determined that she was actually at a party.
    The fire was ignited by a candle the children used for lighting
    at the house, authorities said. There were no working smoke
    detectors in the house.
    Investigators sought manslaughter charges against Joyce for
    leaving the children alone. The Kalamazoo County prosecutor's
    office declined to charge her, saying the death was accidental.
    J.C. and Willie Mae Joyce, Angieleak's parents, were given
    temporary custody of the two surviving children. The next hearing
    on the children's custody is Oct. 24.
    Willie Mae Joyce said she had no idea her daughter's family was
    living in a condemned house. She and her husband declined to
    comment further.

    (Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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  2. #2
    Member
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    Sep 2002
    Location
    Michigan
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    Boy that really hits close to home i live in michigan and kalamazoo is only 1 1/2 away just think a smaller town like that how many more of these cases are out there that are accidents waiting to happen.
    There's an old saying around the firehouse."You
    don't have to watch your back, because you know someone else is watching it for you"

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