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
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
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
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
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
(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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10-08-2002, 02:05 AM #1
The sad life of a young fire victimProudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
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10-08-2002, 12:13 PM #2
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- Sep 2002
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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