Police: No battery in smoke alarm at deadly Phoenix apartment fire

PHOENIX - Phoenix police said a family may have had no warning in a deadly fire that took the life of a six month old baby.

A fire broke out in an apartment near 24th Street and McDowell Monday afternoon.

The parents and three of the kids made it out safely.

Police said they found a smoke detector on the scene but there weren't any batteries in it. They’re not sure why.

The family members are refugees from Somalia.

Some neighbors said they may not have understood how to check the smoke detector.

Cyril T. Moore lives in the apartment below where the fire broke out.

She said she never heard her smoke alarm go off.

“But when we started hearing popping and popping, we ran out the door,” Moore said.

Now she’s moving out of her apartment because of smoke and water damage.

She questions why her neighbor's smoke alarm had no batteries and hers didn't work.

“Ours had batteries in it. But this particular time, it didn't go off, I don't know,” she said.

Many of her neighbors are Somalian refugees—and they have the same questions.  

“Apartment's responsibility, That's what is it. They have to make sure everything is functioning and working,” Abdirizkak Sugule said.

They wonder if property management could've done more-- or if checking on the smoke alarm was lost in translation.

“Some people, they might not know. They might live far village from city, they don't know what is a smoke detector,” Sugule said.

Sugule said many churches and organizations teach refugees how to use smoke detectors.

But no matter the reason, he knows it won't change this family's loss.

“I hear the baby died. That's a tragedy and it's very painful,” he said.

We reached out to the property owners for a comment but haven't heard back.

A new city ordinance requires people to purchase smoke detectors that won't allow battery removal.

Those batteries last for 10 years.

The Phoenix Fire Department is still looking into the cause of the fire.

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