Friday February 28th, 2020 12:45AM

Code enforcement: Gainesville fire victim was supposed to be removed from home

By B.J. Williams Assistant News Director
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While an exact cause has not been determined just yet, it appears a hoarding situation could have contributed to a deadly apartment fire in Gainesville Monday morning.
Gainesville Code Enforcement Division officials had been working with victim Alice Law to get her out of the unit at Candler Square Apartments, according to reports released by the city. 

A sign had been placed on the door of Law's apartment on Thursday, March 21, declaring the unit "unfit for human occupancy."

Information from the city said the Code Enforcement Division and an adult protective services caseworker, identified as Karrie Mixon, worked with Law between September 2015 and June 2016 to clean up the apartment. 

"Mrs. Mixon coordinated with junk removal companies to assist with cleanup, and Ms. Law was able to return to her home on June 10, 2016," according to a report written by Code Enforcement Manager Sarah Wilson-Britt.

However, Law's hoarding habits resumed and city officials became aware of the dangerous conditions in the apartment in January after they were contacted by a plumber who had been called to the apartment complex.

"On January 11, 2019 a plumber contacted [Gainesville Fire Marshal] Chad Payne regarding deplorable living conditions in Unit C10. Ms. Law’s toilet leaked and caused damage to two units below her," the report stated. 

At that point, code enforcement officials and another case worker, identified as Mindy Sampson, began conversations with Law. 

"Between January and March 21, 2019 Mrs. Sampson and I visited with Ms. Law and strongly encouraged her to reduce her hoard or we would be forced to condemn her unit again," Wilson-Britt wrote.

Wilson-Britt said she also keep in touch with Law's niece to give her updates on the situation.

On March 21, Wilson-Britt reported she, Sampson and apartment managers met with Law to explain that the apartment unit would be condemned. 

"Mrs. Sampson was going to contact Junk Kings and schedule a day for next week to come by and provide a quote for cleanup. I advised Ms. Law I was going to give her 30 days to make progress, and that she was not allowed to be in the unit unless she was there to clean items out," Britt-Wilson wrote. 

Law attempted to stay with family members the Thursday night her apartment was closed, according to Britt-Wilson, but ended up at the Hall County Sheriff's Office after some issues led to law enforcement involvement.

The following day, Sampson made arrangements for Law to be housed at Motel 6. 

According to the report, all parties believed Law was at the hotel Friday night, and Britt-Wilson said they had planned to meet with Law Monday morning to help her get a medical evaluation.

At this point, it is unknown when Law made her way back to her apartment. The apartment unit was reported on fire around 4:30 a.m. Monday, March 25. Law's body was discovered after the fire was extinguished. 


  • Associated Categories: Homepage, Local/State News
  • Associated Tags: Gainesville Fire Department, fatal fire, Gainesville Code Enforcement, hoarding
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