It has been almost a week since a devastating fire ripped through an apartment in Easton killing three people, including a 4-year-old boy. Firefighters tell us the tragedy could have been prevented with smoke detectors.
"They just did not have any early warning detection system and that is the key. You know we saved the property. If you go by that building it does not even look like there is much damage. But yet three lives were lost, and three lives that really should not have been lost. It is a tragedy," said Easton Mayor Sal Panto.
Firefighters say it is the landlord's responsibility to keep rental properties up to code.
In Easton, that means there must be smoke detectors on every floor of the home including the basement and in every sleeping area. But your lease will indicate if the tenant or landlord needs to replace the batteries.
Panto says there are a number of good landlords that meet these standards. But he says there are some bad eggs.
"Unfortunately we have about a dozen that really take us to the limit and just will stretch every law they can and skirt every law they can for their own financial benefit," said Panto.
If your rental property is not up to city code, Panto says to go to a district magistrate and register a complaint. He also hopes the court systems start prosecuting negligent landlords more harshly.
"Sometimes the court just is not stringent enough in our minds. They can fine them up to $1,000 a day and I think until those landlords are hit in their pocket, they are going to continue to skirt the law," said Panto.
If you are in need of a smoke detector, call your local fire department to see if you can get a smoke detector for free and have it installed.