Investigation continues into deadly motel fire, no state fire code

NOW: Investigation continues into deadly motel fire, no state fire code

SODUS TOWNSHIP, MI. -- It is now day five of the investigation into that deadly motel fire in Berrien County, which killed a mother and five young children. 

ABC57 News revealed on Tuesday that a state law on the Michigan website, required annual testing of fire safety systems for hotels, inns, and public lodging houses. 

On Wednesday, the state responded to questions ABC57 News asked, and more information is coming out.

"There aren't any yearly inspections. And that's true on both sides of the state lines," says Wayne Hardin, the Sodus Township Building Inspector. 

The email, in part, said that the law ABC57 found, 

"Apears to no longer be assigned to any state department or agency.  MCL 427.8 was repealed in 2000 that disbanded a commission that was responsible for the Act and was apparently made up of a number of agencies.  Because there is no commission, Section 9 regarding delegation (and thereby responsibility for) inspections is no longer in effect."

"Of course it bothers you, but how do you address this issue. I mean who took it off and why," says Hardin. 

Hardin says, this lack of such a life-saving law is unsettling.

But because the state does not require anything, he believes it may be up to local governments and its people.

"Unless there's a statute or ordinance in the city or municipality that says they'll be inspected," he explains. "You can have all of the statutes and ordinances in the world. If they're not going to be enforced, or have a way to enforce it, or a penalty for not enforcing, there's not going to be a difference."

Hardin says the loss of so many lives, should be lesson enough. 

"[It's] to prevent something like this from happening again. Where not just talking about the Extended Stay, we're talking about residential homes where people live too," he adds. 

This all comes as the investigation, adds yet another piece to the puzzle.

"They've taken some items from one or two of the apartments," Hardin says. "They're going to the lab as we speak and they're getting looked at."

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